More than 500,000 people are killed by armed violence every year. The over 156 states voted in favor of the Arms Trade Treaty need to show leadership by signing and ratifying the treaty as quickly as possible. On Monday June 3, 2013 history was made a the UN with the signing of the Arms Trade Treaty which will stop the supply of illegal arms to rebel groups around the world. THis treaty is the first ever legally binding treaty that will serve millions of people and stop unregulated arms transfers to rebel groups the world over.
Over the course of eight hours, sixty-three countries signed the treaty at the United Nations in New York and expressed their support of a strong, robust and comprehensive treaty. If 50 countries ratify this treaty within six months of signing it then the treaty will go into full effect.
Ban Ki-Moon addressed the room at the signings ceremony and stated, “With an Arms Trade Treaty in place the eyes of the world are watching arms manufacturers and governments like never before.”
Control Arms, the major campaigner for for the passage of this treaty stated that, “gunrunners and dictators have been sent a clear message that their time of easy access to weapons is up.” Millions of people who live in war zones everyday will begin to feel safe again once this comprehensive treaty is fully signed and enforced.
Governments have come together and said “enough is enough” and all have acknowledged that illegal arms trade is out of control and those suffering in war zones deserve peace.
The United States has agreed to sign the Arms Trade Treaty but will not be signing on Monday due to a bureaucratic process where nothing happens quickly or without challenges. The US has taken a global role with the agreement to sign this treaty; meaning they are saying “if you sign it, we will sign it.” The Arms Trade Treaty is consistent with all US laws and the US was instrumental in treaty passed at the UN when talks had stalled and they have vowed to sign and support this comprehensive treaty.
The National Rifle Association has stated that they strongly oppose this treaty and have been lobbying delegations not to support the Arms Trade Treaty but they are sadly confused on this issue. The Arms Trade Treaty has absolutely nothing to do with domestic law and strictly deals with international arms dealer and weaponry only. No domestic laws will changed in any country as a result of this treaty.
This treaty comes after ten years of campaigning and seven years of negotiations. WHile this day is historic for those who live in war torn areas of the world there is still much work to be done. As one country stated, “We have words on paper, now we need action on the ground.”