New ratifications push UN Arms Trade Treaty towards entry into force

UN treaty

Argentina, Bahamas, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Senegal and Uruguay, have ratified the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at a joint ceremony held as part of the 2014 Treaty Event in New York, US.

The treaty has received the 50 ratifications required for its entry into force, less than two years after its adoption by the UN General Assembly.

As announced in April 2013, the treaty will enter into force 90 days after the date of the deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, which in this case will be on 24 December.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said the need for the treaty remains abundantly clear.

"Now we must work for its efficient implementation and seek its universalisation so that the regulation of armaments, as expressed in the charter of the United Nations, can become a reality once and for all.

"Just as with other commodities, the trade in arms should comply with vigorous, internationally agreed standards. All actors involved in the arms trade must be held accountable."

"The trade in arms should comply with vigorous, internationally agreed standards."

During the ceremony, Georgia and Namibia also signed the treaty, which is expected to regulate an estimated $70bn conventional arms trade in main battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, as well as small arms and light weapons.

In addition, the ATT includes a prohibition on the transfer of arms that would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity and certain war crimes.

However, the treaty will not interfere with domestic weapons trade or the right to bear arms in member states, ban export of any weapon type, harm legitimate rights to self-defence, or undermine national arms regulation standards, according to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.

Image: The UN Arms Trade Treaty is scheduled to enter into force on 24 December. Photo: courtesy of the UN / Paulo Filgueiras.

Defence Technology