Despite last year’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the proliferation of conventional weapons continues to fuel military conflicts in several countries. Described as the first international, legally binding agreement to regulate the trade in conventional arms, the ATT was also aimed at preventing the illicit trade in weapons. The ATT has been signed by 130 states and ratified by 72. Some of the world’s key arms suppliers are either non-signatories, or have signed but not ratified the treaty. The United States, Ukraine and Israel have signed but not ratified while China and Russia abstained on the General Assembly vote on the treaty – and neither has signed it.
The Conference of States Parties (CSP1) to the ATT, held in Mexico last week, was the first meeting to assess the political credibility of the treaty.
Ray Acheson, Director, Reaching Critical Will, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), told IPS, “Arms transfers are still continuing – transfers that states know will contribute to death, injury, rape, displacement, and other forms of violence against human beings and our shared environment.”
Dr. Natalie J. Goldring, a senior fellow with the Security Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University said full implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty requires action at the national, regional, and global levels… the most important measure of success will be whether the ATT helps reduce the human cost of armed violence. It’s simply too early to tell whether this will be the case.”
South Sudan spent almost 30 million dollars last year on machine guns, grenade launchers, and other weapons from China, along with Russian armoured vehicles and Israeli rifles and attack helicopters.