On April 2, 2013 governments adopted the text of the first ever Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the United Nations in New York. The treaty, which prohibits the sale of arms if there is any risk that the weapons could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law, is the first treaty that recognizes the linkages between gender-based violence and the international arms trade.
The final UN negotiating conference failed to adopt the text by consensus on the 28th of March due to objections from Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Syria. In response, over 100 countries co-sponsored a draft General Assembly resolution calling for the adoption of the treaty text, which was successfully adopted on the 2nd of April.
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) welcomes the adoption of the treaty as a first step towards regulating the international transfers of arms. However, our organization cautions that the treaty is not sufficiently robust or comprehensive enough. The risk of legitimizing the international arms trade, especially irresponsible transfers, must be avoided through careful interpretation and implementation.
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