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ATT chair’s draft foreshadows treaty elements

March 3, 2011

by Michael Schober, IPPNW-Austria

Thursday morning at the ATT PrepCom: The plenary, with delegates of all UN member states, is now discussing the newest version of the PrepCom chairman’s paper which was discussed for the past three days and which we hope will lead to an arms trade treaty in the future.

Just prior to the release of the paper, there was much anticipation. Would the statement and needs of their own country have been taken into consideration? What would be the further direction be in the negotiations? Would the ATT be strong and really contribute to more security, development and therefore health? In addition, the NGOs were anticipating the result of the efforts they made and lobbying they did in the last days.

After a short time studying the revised paper finally released, we could find the following:

The controversial issue of ammunition in the treaty was maintained;
The immediate statement of the US delegation ( which is against including ammunition due to difficulties in implementing it) was, that an ATT should regulate international arm transfers and can not and should not legislate on death and murder.
For us, a strong ATT would mean exactly this: Reducing death and murder!;
Further, the responsibility to execute the treaty was made stronger: “Should take into account” was replaced by “shall.” A success for IPPNW, which pushed with other NGOs for that language as well as such considerations as victim assistance.

The challenge in the further discussion will be how the positions of the states, which are aiming for a less universal and strong ATT — referring to the right of self defense and difficulties of implementation — will be taken into account.
Further plenaries will cast more light on this.

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