TALKING POINTS – END OF UN SG DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS ON AN
- This consultation process has been a major success – we now need to ensure
that governments remain committed to the treaty development process.
- To save lives, the Arms Trade Treaty must explicitly ban arms transfers
that fuel conflict, poverty and serious human rights abuses.
- The official deadline for submissions has passed but governments can still
send their views to the UN Secretary-General if they have not done so.
What is the UN Secretary General’s consultation on the Arms Trade Treaty?
- Following an historic vote last December in the UN General Assembly to
start work on the Arms Trade Treaty, the UN Secretary-General called for
governments’ views on the feasibility, scope and draft parameters of the
What is the People’s Consultation on an Arms Trade Treaty?
- Parallel with the political process, the Control Arms campaign held over
100 ‘People’s Consultations’ in more than 50 countries around the world. These
consultations collected the views of ordinary people, especially people
affected daily by armed violence.
- Civil society organisations in these countries presented the consultation
outcomes to their governments and in many cases, they worked closely with
governments on their official submissions to the UN. Most of the countries
where People’s Consultations were held did make submissions on an ATT to the
How have governments responded to the consultation?
- The response from governments has been really positive and over 80
submissions have been made to the UN Secretary-General. We believe this
response rate is significantly higher than usual – the typical response rate
to consultations like this is 15. We also believe it is partly due to
Control Arms People’s Consultations in more than 50 countries around the
world, where civil society organisations urged their governments – and in
many cases assisted them – to develop positive and constructive submissions
to the UN.
Has the content of the submissions been strong?
- Of the 50 submissions that we have seen, the vast majority stated that
arms transfers should be in accordance with international human rights law.
33 of the 50 submissions we have seen said the process for approving arms
transfers should take into account their impact on sustainable development.
This is an important step towards a strong treaty. All governments must work
to ensure they agree on a treaty that has human rights at its heart and
prevents arms transfers where they are likely to be used for human rights
- However we would like to see more emphasis being put on the need to
protect sustainable development when considering arms transfers. Unless
states take into consideration whether a proposed transfer would negatively
affect sustainable development in the recipient country, we will continue to
see spending on arms undermining economic and social development across the
Who has made submissions and which regions have had particularly good/poor
Response rate and name of governments that have submitted
3/13 - Burundi, DRC, Kenya
9/16 - Benin, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia,
Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo
3/13 - Malawi, South Africa, Zambia
2/6 - Egypt, Morocco
3/14 - Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago
5/8 - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
2/3 - Canada, Cuba
6/10 Argentina, Brazil, Colombia,
Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela
4/14 - Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa
4/15 - China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea
1/9 - Georgia
3/8 - Bangladesh, India, Pakistan
9/10 - Everyone except Belarus
27/27 (28 submissions in total: all EU
governments plus a joint EU submission)
3/7 - Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland
2/14 - Israel, Turkey
* These figures have been collated by the Control Arms campaign – they
include all countries we believe have submitted.
Which countries are most sceptical about the treaty and did they provide
- The USA was the only country to vote against the resolution ‘Towards an
Arms Trade Treaty’ last year. We believe the US has not submitted its views on
an arms treaty to the UN. Of the submissions that we have seen, India and
Israel expressed reservations about establishing global controls on the arms
If the United States/Russia/China doesn’t support the Treaty, will it have
- We hope the governments that are currently sceptical will eventually
support an Arms Trade Treaty. But even if they do not, there is ample evidence
to show that creating an international treaty modifies the behaviour of all
countries, even if they have not signed up to it. For example, some
influential states have remained outside the convention banning anti-personnel
landmines, yet not a single government has openly endorsed the trade in
anti-personnel mines since the convention came into force and the world is a
safer and more humane place as a result.
What happens now that the UNSG’s consultation is over? How long will it take
to get a Treaty?
- This UN process could result in the establishment of a global Arms Trade
Treaty by 2010. That may seen slow, but it’s fast in UN terms. Once the UN
Secretary General has concluded his consultation of governments, he will set
up a Group of Governmental Experts to consider the states’ proposals for the
Treaty. This group will then propose a blueprint for the Treaty, which will be
put to a vote in the UN General Assembly in October 2008. After that, formal
negotiations on the Treaty would start.
Does the final deadline mean governments that haven’t made submissions won’t
be represented in the consultation document?
- Governments can still submit their views on a Treaty, though 20 June was
the official deadline for inclusion in the main report. Submissions received
before the UN First Committee meeting in October will be considered as an
addendum to the main consultation document. So far, more than 80 government
submissions have been sent to the UN – far more than any previous consultation
of this kind.