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Tánaiste hails adoption of landmark UN Arms Trade Treaty

United Nations, Disarmament, Press Releases, Ireland, 2013

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., has welcomed the adoption of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, through a Resolution co-sponsored by Ireland.  The text of the new Treaty was adopted today following a ten-day conference in which Ireland’s delegation played an active and prominent part.

Welcoming the adoption of the Treaty, the Tánaiste said:

“For too long, the global arms trade has operated in a wholly unregulated manner, with no internationally recognised rules, obligations or even guidelines for States.  This has devastating consequences - exacting a heavy toll on lives, crippling economies, and deflecting precious resources away from sustainable development. Too often, the most vulnerable pay the highest price.  This Treaty will change that.  It contains important provisions that, if effectively implemented, will reduce human suffering and save lives."

The resolution was adopted by the General Assembly, with 154 yes votes, 3 no votes, and 23 abstentions.

The new Treaty prohibits a State from authorising arms exports where it has knowledge that the weapons will be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 or other war crimes. 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.

The Tánaiste confirmed that Ireland will sign the new Treaty when it opens for signature on 3 June and will move quickly to ratify it domestically. 

“This Treaty is an example of how the UN can deliver and make a contribution to international peace and security. While it was negotiated by States, the strong advocacy role of civil society organisations has helped to bring this Treaty about.  I encourage all UN Member States to sign the ATT on 3 June so that it can enter into force without delay,” he added.