ATT marks historic breakthrough for human rights : Amnesty International 

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Dec 22,Oslo: The global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) will be implemented from 24 December, marking a breakthrough for human rights after more than two decades of campaigning, according to information provided by Amnesty International on Monday.

Amnesty International in a statement stated that Amnesty International and its supporting NGO’s across the World have lobbied and campaigned relentlessly for an ATT since the mid-1990s. “As the first-ever legally binding treaty of its kind, it will block the flow of arms to governments that would use them to commit atrocities”, Amnesty International stated.

“This achievement is a truly historic breakthrough. It shows what is possible when human rights campaigners dig in for the long haul and work relentlessly to turn a good idea into a lifesaving reality around the World,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Salil added that when  Amnesty International activists were among a small group of people who first proposed regulating the irresponsible international arms trade in the early 1990s, some even mocked the idea. “Two decades on, the treaty now becomes a legally binding reality: a testament to their hard work, creativity and sheer determination.”

According to him, approximately half a million people die every year on average and millions more are injured, raped and forced to flee from their homes because of the poorly regulated global trade in weapons and munitions. “The arms trade is shrouded in secrecy, but the recorded value of international transfers is approaching USD$100 billion annually,” he said.

The ATT includes a number of rules to help stop the flow of arms to countries where it can be used for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or serious violations of human rights law.
According to Amnesty International, five of the top 10 arms exporters – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – are among the 60 countries around the World to  ratify the ATT. The USA, by far the largest arms producer and exporter, is among 70 other countries that have signed but not yet ratified the treaty. Other major arms producers like China, Canada and Russia have resisted signing or ratifying the treaty.

Meanwhile, the USA, by far the largest arms producer and exporter, is among 70 other countries that have signed but not yet ratified the treaty. Other major arms producers like China, Canada and Russia have resisted signing or ratifying the treaty.“The work does not stop here, and we will not rest on our laurels. While the Arms Trade Treaty sets key ground rules for the global arms trade, it is not a panacea. It will require even more widespread support and pressure to ensure states strictly adhere to its principles,” said Shetty.

He further added that nations should have a clear commitment that this is not like other businesses as it affects the lives of people  around the World. “People across the World have suffered enough because of the reckless arms trade. Governments owe it to them to back up their commitment with action,” he said.

The Oslo Times

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