The United States has relatively robust regulations governing international transfers of conventional arms and ammunition, but many other countries have weak or ineffective laws and policies, if they have any at all. In the absence of common international standards and national export controls, arms suppliers and brokers exploit the gaps for profit, allowing arms and ammunition to flow to unscrupulous regimes, criminals, illegal militias, and terrorist groups.
(United Nations, New York) Nearly a year after the start of a UN process to negotiate a new global arms trade treaty, 192 states came close to agreement on a treaty to require better regulation of the global nuclear arms trade and to set common-sense standards for arms transfers.
(United Nations, New York) Nearly a year after the UN launched a process to negotiate a new global arms trade treaty, states are coalescing around a final treaty text.
(Washington and New York) Major U.S. humanitarian and arms control organizations, including Amnesty International USA, Oxfam America, Arms Control Association, and United to Prevent Genocide, are pressing President Barack Obama to work with other countries close the remaining loopholes in text of the Arms Trade Treaty now under negotiation.
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the first consolidated draft text of a global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) emerged from arduous negotiations at the United Nations. Governments have just three days to narrow any remaining differences before the conference concludes on July 27.
The ongoing conflict in Syria-like recent wars in Burma, Congo, Liberia, Sudan, and Sierra Leone-underscores the urgent need for common standards for international transfers of conventional weapons and ammunition, as well as legally-binding requirements for all states to review exports and imports--particularly for arms transfers that could lead to human rights abuses or violate international arms embargoes.
The following piece was originally published in The Christian Science Monitor on July 9, 2012
Each year, hundreds of thousands of civilians around the globe are slaughtered by conventional weapons that are sold, transferred by governments, or diverted to unscrupulous regimes, criminals, illegal militias, and terrorist groups. The enormous human toll from the unregulated trade of conventional arms undermines international security and impedes economic and social development.