Four international organisations and networks—, , , and —have united to support a strong Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the inclusion of a specific criterion on gender-based violence in the negotiated text.
Irresponsible transfers of weaponry, munitions, armaments, and related equipment across borders have resulted in the loss of millions of lives and livelihoods and the violation of fundamental human rights. In particular, the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons increases the risk to both men and women’s security, and impedes their enjoyment of their civil, political, social, and economic rights in different ways. There is a gender dimension to the trade whereby women are disproportionately affected by armed gender-based violence.
This July 2012 presents an historic opportunity as member states of the United Nations (UN) gather to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) meant to establish common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms. Achieving an effective ATT is an urgent necessity. The ATT will require states to authorize international transfers of conventional arms in conformity with an agreed list of clear criteria that assess a range of potential risks stemming from such transfers.
If the ATT is to be an effective legal instrument in regulating the international arms trade, recognition of the potential gendered impacts of international transfers must also be included.
Our Joint Policy Paper on Gender and the ArmsTrade Treaty (ATT) outlines why the ATT should require States not to allow an international transfer of conventional arms where there is a substantial risk that the arms under consideration are likely to be used to perpetrate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence. Some key questions in the risk assessment process should include whether there is an effective regulatory system to control arms and prevent such violence, and whether there is evidence of acts or patterns of gender-based violence.
We suggest that the criteria of an Arms Trade Treaty should require States not to authorise an international transfer of conventional arms where there is a substantial risk that the arms under consideration are likely to be used to perpetrate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence.
For more information on how to apply such a criterion and our Joint Policy Paper, see: