Arms Trade Treaty: More Countries sign new Treaty

With 18 countries, including the US signing onto a new treaty regulating international trade in conventional arms on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly high-level debate, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that the total number of signatories now exceeds half of all UN member states.

‘Today, a number of countries signed the Arms Trade Treaty, pushing the total number of signatures to more than half of all member states. I am so happy with this development,’ Ban said in a statement issued by UN spokesperson, Martin Nesirky.

Mr. Nesirky said the Secretary-General, as depository of a treaty, deems (this) important, welcomes every signature.

The signatures received so far on Wednesday push the number of signatories to 109.

He said it was of particular significance that the largest arms exporting country in the world, the United States, was now also among those countries which had committed themselves to a global regulation of the arms trade.

‘The Secretary-General believes that Wednesday’s signings will contribute to efforts to reduce insecurity and suffering of people on all continents,’ the UN spokesperson said.

He added that Ban had called on other countries to follow suit and sign and also ratify the treaty.

Among other provisions, the new treaty, which will enter into force, once it receives 50 ratifications, includes a prohibition on the transfer of arms which would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity and certain war crimes.

PANA recalled that the treaty was adopted by a vote in the 193-member UN General Assembly in April after the final UN Conference dedicated to the issue failed to garner consensus on a text.

The treaty regulates all conventional arms within the categories of battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers and small arms and light weapons.

A 2011 study commissioned by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), entitled: ‘The Global Burden of Armed Violence’, documented that more than half a million people die as a result of armed violence every year, fueled in many cases by the widespread availability of weapons.

The study also revealed that many more suffer horrific injuries and abuses, including rape, while still more are forced from their homes.

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