United Nations member states will meet in New York City next week for the second round of negotiation on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The March 18-29 gathering serves as a follow-up to the first round of negotiations held in July 2012 where delegates failed to address significant loopholes surrounding the arm trade’s effects on the violence and destruction in civilian lives – especially that of gender-based violence. A number of governments involved in the process are pushing for watered-down language in the treaty, effectively ensuring the continuance of such brutality after conflict’s conclusion.
As Widney Brown of Amnesty International writes in her article for CNN, the “proliferation of weapons” has already had drastic effects in perpetrating the sexual violence many have and will continue to endure if the ATT does not commit to using stronger and more specific language.
“It has long been recognized that such crimes can be curbed also by taking away the tools used by perpetrators to commit or facilitate them. A strong and effective global Arms Trade Treaty would be a very significant step towards this.Women the world over need to know that governments will not put profits before human security by allowing weapons to get into the hands of those who would use them to commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide or other serious violations of human rights,” says Brown.
The meetings next week may be the last chance to include such language.
The women laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative have joined 12 of their fellow laureates in signing a letter to President (and 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) Barack Obama asking him to support “…a rigorous, comprehensive Treaty consistent with States’ obligations under international law, especially international human rights and humanitarian law, to prevent the misuse of arms.” The letter was released Thursday.
Read the letter “Securing a Strong Arms Trade Treaty” from Nobel Laureates to President Barack Obama.
Visit Reaching Critical Will’s website detailing the history of the ATT and the UN process of negotiation.
Read Widney Brown’s CNN article “Why there is no peace time for women” about the importance of including gender-based language in the ATT.
Sign WILPF’s campaign “Make it Binding” advocating for the use of gender-based language in the ATT to ensure the end of sexual violence in conflict.