Landmark arms trade treaty resolution passed at UN
 
Today, the UN General Assembly voted resoundingly in favour of starting international discussions towards an arms trade treaty (ATT).

This landmark vote on a resolution, proposed by the UK and six other states (1), won support from 139 UN member states.

An ATT is a key to helping to prevent the thousands of deaths caused each week by conventional weapons. There are currently no international controls on the import and export of arms. An ATT based on states' existing responsibilities under international law would provide agreed global standards on arms transfers and help prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

The resolution sets out a timetable for the UN to establish a group of governmental experts to consider the feasibility, scope and draft parameters of a legally-binding arms trade treaty and to report back to the General Assembly in 2008.

The UK Government, as one of the co-authors of the resolution, has worked with other governments to play an important role in getting the ATT this far. As a group of MPs stated only this week (2), the UK Government now needs to ensure the ATT retains this political momentum through the vital next stages.

"The passing of the UN resolution signifies a landmark in a long campaign for better international arms controls. This is only the first step on the long road towards an ATT. Those that have championed it – including the UK Government – now need to make sure the momentum is not lost" said Claire Hickson, Head of Advocacy and Communications, Saferworld.