WILPF Resolution on the Arms Trade Treaty

5 August 2011

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), meeting at the Quadrennial Congress in San José, Costa Rica in August 2011,

Noting with distress that the global arms trade is valued at over 50 billion USD per year and that global military spending as a whole reached 1.6 trillion USD in 2010,

Understanding that weapons are principally tools of violence and repression by those that use them and tools of financial gain by those who make and sell them,

Deploring both the legal and illegal arms trade of “conventional” weapon systems and ammunition,

Recognizing that conventional weapons, especially small arms and light weapons, are often used to perpetrate acts of sexual or gender-based violence as a tactic of war in order to deliberately target civilians,

Recognizing further that arms transferred without regulation continue to kill or maim civilians; obstruct economic and social development, including through the loss of livelihood; impede post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction; delay or prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced persons; negatively impact on national and international peace-building and humanitarian assistance efforts; negatively impact local and global ecosystems; and have other severe consequences that can persist for many years,

Welcoming the initiation of the process in the United Nations to negotiate an international, legally-binding arms trade treaty (ATT) in July 2012,

Appreciating the discussions that have occurred thus far at the ATT preparatory committees held in July 2010, February 2011, and July 2011,

Recognizing that to be effective, an ATT must be comprehensive, and that to be comprehensive it must cover not just weapon platforms and systems but also their ammunition and components, arms and ammunition production equipment, and related materials, and that it must cover all aspects of the arms trade;

Believing that an ATT should not merely be used as a procedural authorization of arms transfers, but that it should be able to help prevent armed conflict, prevent the violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, and significantly reduce the culture and economy of militarism,

Believing further that the ATT should help build the foundations for not just the regulation but also the reduction of the arms trade, along with the reduction of military spending and the redirection of economic resources to meet human and environmental needs, including the Millennium Development Goals,

1. Insists that an ATT not be limited to proscribing procedures to authorize arms transfers, nor be used to legitimize the arms trade;

2. Calls for an ATT to include comprehensive prohibitions on the transfer of arms that are, among other things, likely to be used to violate international humanitarian law or human rights or to commit acts of genocide or crimes against humanity; that will have a negative impact on sustainable socioeconomic development or destroy the environment; that will provoke or exacerbate armed conflict or facilitate sexual- and gender-based violence;

3. Calls for an ATT to include all conventional weapon systems and armaments as well as small arms and light weapons, ammunition, components, and equipment, including not only those specifically designed for offensive combat operations but all types of military, security, and police weaponry, military data-processing and communication systems, and military equipment for transport and other purposes;

4. Calls for an ATT to cover all types of arms transfer transactions and processes including, inter alia, import, export, shipment, and brokering;

5. Calls for an ATT to require all state parties, with respect to victims of the arms regulated in this treaty in areas under its jurisdiction or control, to, in accordance with applicable international humanitarian and human rights law, adequately provide age- and gender-sensitive assistance, including medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support, as well as provide for their social and economic inclusion;

6. Calls for an ATT to include specific implementation requirements for all state parties, including among other things obligations on marking weapons and ammunition; on keeping records of all transfer transactions and on making these records publically available for monitoring and verification purposes; and on international cooperation and assistance; and

7. Urges that once the treaty is negotiated, any assistance from the United Nations to facilitate implementation of the ATT should by no means detract from the UN’s core role in promoting disarmament and the effective regulation of armaments and that any ATT must not be used as an excuse to limit or curtail the UN’s advocacy for more effective regulation and the strengthened application of international humanitarian law and human rights law.