The Arms Trade Treaty
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on the 2nd of April, 2013. This agreement is the result of a long process, launched with the support of the civil society, for an international instrument controlling the arms trade. France and the European Union members have been active members in the negotiation process. The French delegation was led by the Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The treaty has been open to signature on the 3rd of June, 2013, and entered into force after its ratification by 50 States, on the 24th of December, 2014.
For the first time, the international community acquired a legally binding instrument to control the arms trade. The Treaty aims at regulating the international legal trade of conventional weapons, and at fighting the illicit trafficking. Now fully implemented, the Treaty represents a reinforcement factor for international security and the stability necessary for development. It also enables to fight against armed violence, the violation of humanitarian law and human rights.
The Treaty applies to conventional weapons, to their munitions and their components. States are forced to implement a national system of control of arms transfers (exportations, importations, transits or brokering activities). This system is based on the assessment of arms transfer requests in consideration with precise criteria : the banning of transfers likely to contribute to war crimes, acts of genocide or violations of international commitments and Security Council embargoes ; awareness of the diversion to the illicit sector and the risk of violation of human rights and humanitarian international law and a particular emphasis on the violence based on gender or acts of violence against women and children. The Treaty is thus a major progress for international humanitarian law and human rights, at the heart of the criteria the State parties committed to respect.
The Treaty contains also transparence measures for the conventional arms transfers allowed by states. A specific clause enables State-parties to develop the scope regarding the technologic changes.