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NZratifies new treaty to control the $85bn global arms trade

New Zealand ratifies new treaty to control the $85bn global arms trade for the first time ever


Wellington, September 2nd 2014: By ratifying the new Arms Trade Treaty today New Zealand has played an historic role in helping end the irresponsible, lethal trade in weapons and ammunition that has devastated the lives of millions of people, according to campaigners.

A representative of the New Zealand Government today deposited the instrument of ratification – the final stage of treaty ratification - at the United Nations’ Headquarters in New York.

New Zealand Red Cross, Amnesty International New Zealand and Oxfam New Zealand today applauded this move by the New Zealand Government.

Luke Roughton, Policy Advisor at Oxfam New Zealand who was a member of the New Zealand delegation to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiating conferences, said: “New Zealand’s ratification today is a very welcome contribution towards greater global security. For many regions that have been affected by armed violence, including the Pacific, this treaty represents a major step forward in securing a safer future. The ATT is the first agreement of its kind providing legally-binding global rules to regulate the international flow of weapons, reducing the risk that they will escalate conflict and fuel atrocities, which is especially significant in the context of multiple armed conflicts around the globe, including in Gaza, Syria, South Sudan and Ukraine, to name just a few.

“New Zealand was an active and progressive country in the negotiations that led up to the ATT adoption, and with this ratification it has now ensured that it will be a State Party to the Treaty when it enters into force. That’s fantastic,” he said.

Since the ATT opened for signature in June 2013, a total of 118 states have signed it, and so far 45 states – now including New Zealand, have ratified this pioneering international agreement, ensuring that they will comply with the terms of the Treaty. The race is still on to reach the landmark figure of 50 ratifying states at which point the Treaty will enter into force and become legally-binding.

“Our organisations have campaigned for this treaty for more than a decade as the unregulated arms trade has resulted in human rights abuses, breaches of international humanitarian law and reversals of development efforts. Putting this control valve on the flow of weapons and bullets that are fuelling conflicts across the world will protect people, but also give them a chance to build a better life,” said Roughton.

New Zealand Red Cross, Amnesty International and Oxfam New Zealand urge New Zealand to set a high standard for others to follow by interpreting the Treaty’s terms in a manner consistent with its purpose and by contributing to the implementation efforts of other countries.

“We finally have an international treaty that will regulate the world’s deadliest business. New Zealand is in a unique position to lead by example on the international stage and ensure the treaty is implemented to the highest standards, setting a strong example of how, together, we can really make a difference to the millions of people living in fear of armed violence every day,” said Roughton.

ENDS

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