A historic Arms Trade Treaty adopted after years of efforts

After years of work, negotiations and compromises the ATT draft resolution was adopted today at the United Nations. It was co-sponsored by 108 UN Member States and 154 countries voted in favour of the text, Finland among them.

The Treaty is good and has strong provisions. It has a comprehensive scope. It prohibits transfers of conventional arms that would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes in all types of armed conflicts. In assessing authorizations of transfers, serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law shall lead to refusal. Serious acts of gender based violations shall be taken into consideration. Provision on gender based violation in this treaty is an important step in international treaties.

Prevention of diversion of conventional weapons and their use in wrong hands has been widely taken into consideration in this treaty. It is one of the major problems in international arms trade.

This is not a static Treaty. State Parties can – unfortunately only several years afterwards – review the treaty. The treaty shall enter into force after 50 ratifications, which makes us believe that the treaty could enter into force rather soon. Finland should be one of the first ones to ratify it. The Treaty will be open for signatures as of 3rd of June.

I am very satisfied that we finally have the Arms Trade Treaty. I was also very happy in 2006, when the resolution in this regard was adopted at the UN. Since then Finland, as one of the seven initiating countries, has been a very vocal and active proponent of this endeavour. A strong basis for the Treaty was established during last year’s negotiations and now the text has been further strengthened.

But this is only the beginning. The Treaty will become reality only when it enters into force and we start to implement it. Only then it will have an impact on the lives of millions who have suffered in armed conflicts, from weapons in wrong hands, from corruption in arms trade and lack of transparency in global arms trade.