Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The ATT: a start to challenging the status quo

by Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will of WILPF

The adoption of the first ever Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is being billed by many governments and civil society organizations as an historic event. And indeed it is. This marks the first time that the General Assembly has adopted legally-binding rules to regulate international transfers of conventional weapons. The ATT is also the first treaty to recognize the links between the international arms trade and gender-based violence. Both of these firsts signify meaningful advancement for international humanitarian law (IHL), human rights, and peace and security. However, the treaty’s deficiencies mean that it could be suseptible to manipulation and abuse by those who want to continue profiting from the arms trade. To ensure that the text adopted on 2 April makes a difference in practice, governments, civil society, and the United Nations, as they begin to implement and interpret the treaty, must avoid legitimizing the international arms trade and irresponsible transfers.

Looking to the future of the ATT: shifting attention to implementation

by Katherine Prizeman, Global Action to Prevent War

After more than a decade of advocating for and working towards a robust and comprehensive arms trade treaty (ATT), relevant stakeholders can now mark a conclusion to the first step in this process. This was an imperfect process that yielded an imperfect treaty. Nevertheless, the task now is to take what has been adopted and ensure that it has the most effective impact possible on the ground so that the human suffering caused by the illicit and unregulated arms trade—the original purpose of and impetus for this process—is prevented to the greatest extent possible.


Monday, April 1, 2013

The failure of consensus

by Ray Acheson and Beatrice Fihn, Reaching Critical Will of WILPF

The events of Thursday evening mark the second time that governments have failed to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by consensus.


Distance runner

by Dr. Robert Zuber, Global Action to Prevent War

Let us be clear about this: the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that will soon to come to pass is historic, but not necessarily epic. Ambassador Woolcott and his team (including the diplomats who chaired thematic consultations) did a masterful job of staying true to their mandate—a treaty with some robustness crafted in accordance with consensus provisions. We’re all tired, but we're not nearly done yet, and for reasons beyond the blocking of consensus that we witnessed yesterday.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

A tale of two treaties

by Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will of WILPF
Since Friday, when the President released his second draft of the arms trade treaty (ATT), people have asked, “Whose treaty is this?” Is this a treaty that will protect human beings from armed conflict and armed violence, or is this a treaty that will protect the profits of arms manufacturers and exporters? Will it promote the interests of cooperative human security or militaristic state security? The release of the third draft text on Wednesday does not settle these questions.


Preventing gender-based violence: a binding requirement in the new draft ATT text

by Ray Acheson, Maria Butler, and Sofia Tuvestad, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

To the question posed in the ATT Monitor earlier this weekis the prevention of armed gender-based violence (GBV) important enough to screen for in export assessments?—the answer is yes! The final draft Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) text released on Wednesday indicated that preventing armed gender-based violence is indeed important enough to be part of mandatory export assessments. 


New baby on the way: is it to be an orphan or everyone’s child?

by Jonathan Frerichs, World Council of Churches

After decades of gestation and years in labor, a new treaty seems well on its way to being born. What lies ahead for this new member of the global village? Will it be an orphan with few prospects in life? Or will there be many to take it in their charge and to give it a future? The almost impossible parentage involved looks certain to keep such questions alive.