Even though the Arms Trade Treaty has been in place for nearly five years, global arms trading is still on the rise. As world leaders meet in Geneva to discuss the treaty, we must remind them that there is still work to do.
After more than 20 years of campaigning by Amnesty International and partner NGOs in the Control Arms Coalition, the UN General Assembly voted decisively to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) text in April 2013. The treaty entered into force on 24 December 2014.
The ATT is a global treaty that sets out, for the first time, prohibitions to stop the international transfer between states of weapons, munitions and related items when it is known they would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes. Every year, an assessment is conducted to analyze the ‘overriding’ risk that potential arms exports could contribute to serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
However, despite their commitment to regulating irresponsible arms trade, many key states parties continue to sell arms to governments that commit serious human rights abuses.
The Small Arms Survey estimates that within a 50 year period, world production of military assault rifles, carbines, pistols, and light and heavy machine guns would range between 36 million and 46 million units.
2017 saw a dramatic increase in the number of violent deaths worldwide, with approximately 589,000 people losing their lives violently. The heaviest burden of increased lethal armed violence affected South and Central America and the Caribbean.