For Immediate Release: March 29, 2013
Washington DC- Yesterday members of the United Nations met for final deliberations on the adoption of the International Arms Trade Treaty. This treaty will for the first time regulate the 70 billion dollar global trade in heavy weapons and small arms. Perhaps the most significant is the treaty text prohibiting transfers of heavy weapons and light arms to those countries where they would be used to attack civilians, commit genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.
“The U.S government is to be commended for supporting this treaty. By doing so the United States contributes to a significant shift in the commitment of foreign governments to proactively protect civilians from genocide and mass atrocities” says Human Rights First’s Hameed. “The support of the U.S delegation yesterday is a very concrete step by the Administration toward fulfilling its promise of escalating atrocity prevention to a national security priority for the United States, made through Presidential Directive 10. Furthermore it sends a strong message to those countries committing mass atrocities, like the current Syrian regime, which have which have thus far benefitted from the legal vacuum, that this status quo is no longer internationally acceptable”.
While yesterday’s deliberations were not successful in securing the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty due to blocks from Iran, Syria and North Korea, the United States joined other countries in moving the treaty to the UN General Assembly as soon as possible. A decision on its adoption is highly anticipated in the coming days.