Media release: Australian Greens defence spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam. 26 July 2012
The United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is taking place in the New York City Headquarters. This Friday, after a month of negotiations, the world is awaiting a Treaty with the highest possible international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.
"Australia was one of the seven original co-sponsors of the United Nations General Assembly resolution that began the ATT process, but was notably missing from the 74 countries that delivered a statement to the conference last week protesting efforts to weaken the Treaty and calling for a robust AT," said Senator Ludlam.
"As the treaty text is finalized, Australia must not assist the US and other countries in watering down text with over simplified language or the omission of key aspects.
"Of course arms sales must be prevented where there is a substantial risk that weapons could be used for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, where there is a risk that weapons will destabalise or exacerbate conflict or be diverted to unauthorized users.
"Minister Carr got it right when he said at the outset that it is "crucial that an ATT covers all conventional weapons - including small arms and light weapons, and their ammunition." So why did the Australian delegation fail to push for this in its latest statement to the negotiation conference?
"We need an ATT that establishes the highest possible international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms; that would promote much needed accountability and transparency in the global arms trade.
"Australia must not allow the poorly regulated international arms trade to continue business as usual. These weapons kill and mutilate, they fuel civil conflicts, destabilise regions, and empowers criminal networks. A robust and legally binding ATT will have a real impact on the lives of those millions of people suffering from the consequences of armed conflict, repression and armed violence," Senator Ludlam concluded.
Media contact: Felicity Hill - 0413 495 242