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Minister Flanagan welcomes entry into force of Arms Trade Treaty

Disarmament, International Law, Minister Charles Flanagan, United Nations, Press Releases, Ireland, 2014

Minister Flanagan welcomes entry into force of Arms Trade Treaty

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, has announced that tomorrow (Wednesday), the Arms Trade Treaty will enter into force in contracting States, including Ireland.

Minister Flanagan stated:

“This important Treaty prohibits States which have ratified it from authorising arms exports where it knows that the weapons will be used in acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, or other war crimes.”

“I particularly welcome the Treaty as the first-ever to recognize the link between gender-based violence, violence against women and children, and the international arms trade.”

Arms exporting States must, under this new Treaty, assess the risk of weapons being used commit serious acts of violence against women and children.

Highlighting Ireland’s role in supporting the creation of a strong and robust Arms Trade Treaty, Minister Flanagan said:

“Ireland has a long and proud tradition of campaigning for a world free of nuclear weapons. We also have worked hard to promote disarmament of other weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons and to limit the global trade in conventional arms, from battle tanks and combat aircraft to missiles and small arms and light weapons.

“This treaty will foster peace and security by putting a stop to destabilizing arms flows to conflict regions.

“As one of the first countries to sign the treaty, Ireland is committed to halting irresponsible and illicit flows of weapons to conflict zones-thereby saving lives, reducing human suffering and making the world a safer place.”

ENDS

Press Office
23 December 2014

Notes to editor:

• After a seven-year process the UN General Assembly adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on 2 April 2013. The ATT has been signed by 125 countries and has been ratified by 55 (as of 16 December 2014).

• The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is the first legally binding instrument to regulate the international trade in conventional weapons. States which sign up to the Treaty are prohibited from exporting arms to countries if they know those weapons will be used to commit gross violations of human rights.

• For the first time, the Treaty introduces objective standards and criteria governing the hitherto unregulated international trade in conventional weapons. It covers the major categories of conventional arms, including the small arms and light weapons which proliferate in countries with low-level conflicts, armed violence and very high civilian casualties. The provisions on prohibitions and exports are applied also to ammunition, parts and components.

• It will also oblige States to minimise the risk that weapons would be diverted into the wrong hands or to the illicit market, and to adhere to robust, comprehensive and legally-binding standards. States will also be required to consider whether the arms being transferred are likely to contribute to or facilitate gender-based violence.

• Ireland was one of the first countries to sign the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and completed its ratification on 2nd April 2014, a year after the United Nations General Assembly voted by an overwhelming majority to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty.

• Under the Treaty’s provisions, the ATT will enter into force 90 days after the fiftieth ratification. With the ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty by Argentina, the Bahamas, Czech Republic, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Senegal, and Uruguay in New York on 25 September 2014, the Treaty reached the threshold of 50 ratifications triggering entry into force on 24 December 2014.

• The ATT was opened for signature on 3 June 2013. Former Minister of State Joe Costello signed the ATT on behalf of Ireland on this date along with 69 other states.