Arms Trade Treaty: No Agreement

By Adrienne Wiebe, Policy Analyst/Educator for MCC Latin America and the Caribbean. (Previously published on the MCC Latin America Advocacy Blog)

MCC was part of a global coalition of civil society organizations, churches, and individuals that urged governments to sign a strong arms trade treaty during negotiations at the United Nations last month.

MCC is one of the international groups that signed the Interfaith Declaration. And many individual members of churches and followers of this blog did as well.

Unfortunately, despite many compromises and dilutions over the course of four weeks of negotiations, several countries blocked the final signing and asked for more time to consider the agreement. The countries were the USA, Venezuela, Cuba, and Russia, and North Korea – an odd group of countries to be on the same side of an issue!

This article by Paul Holtom of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute explains some of the contentious issues, and possible next steps.

While it is discouraging that a treaty was not signed, this is not the end of the story. Momentum has been building for over a decade with civil society pressure. The need for an international and legally-binding treaty to bring the arms trade under control is now widely supported.

A the end of the UN meetings, a group of over 90 states gave a joint statement, read out by Mexico, saying “we are disappointed, but we are not discouraged” and we are determined to secure an Arms Trade Treaty as soon as possible, “One that will bring about a safer world for the sake of all humanity.”

MCC will continue to follow these negotiations and to support civil society efforts to pressure governments to establish a universal Arms Trade Treaty.

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