Arms and bullets continue to destroy lives. Every continent in the world is marred by devastation caused by armed violence. Yet there is still no effective international regulation of the global arms trade. The need for an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which will create globally binding regulation of the international trade in conventional weapons for the first time, is greater than ever. Negotiators at the second and final Diplomatic Conference in March 2013 must deliver a treaty text that holds countries to the highest standards.
Modern weapons and military equipment cannot be made or maintained without the parts and components that are traded around the world in a globalised market. Without regulating this trade alongside the trade in complete weapons, it will be impossible to reduce the impact of irresponsible arms transfers on human rights, security, and development. Between 2008 and 2011, the global trade in parts and components was worth at least $9.7bn. This vast stockpile of weapons parts ranged from high-end components for aircraft to parts for small arms and light weapons (SALW). Without this huge movement of parts and components, the arms trade as we know it could not exist.
This report argues that the illicit and irresponsible global trade in arms and ammunition weakens the ability of governments to sustain progress in development. It says that military expenditure in fragile and conflict-affected countries grew by 15 per cent between 2009 - 2010, while Official Development Assistance (ODA) grew by only 9 per cent. With just weeks to go before diplomats meet at the United Nations, Oxfam says that a specific criteria on development as part of the Arms Trade Treaty is one of the best ways to ensure that arms sales do not have a negative impact on socio-economic development.
Guns are useless without bullets. An Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that does not control ammunition will not achieve its purposes. Several countries, including the USA, China, Egypt and Syria, are arguing that ammunition should be excluded from the ATT. Some of these countries say the sheer volume of trade makes it too difficult to monitor. This would be a colossal mistake. There are now several reasonably simple and effective ways to track ammunition transfers. Inclusion in the ATT would significantly strengthen these mechanisms and the resolve to implement them. Failure would undermine what best practice already exists.
The absence of comprehensive, international legal obligations to prevent irresponsible transfers of arms has resulted in at least $2.2bn worth of arms and ammunition being imported by countries under arms embargoes between 2000 and 2010. This briefing paper argues that in order to have real impact, a prospective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) must include legally binding criteria that prevent arms transfers to abusers of human rights or into situations where there is a substantial risk that they will undermine development or exacerbate armed violence.
Since 2006, more than 2000 people each day have died as a result of armed violence, and thousands more have had their human rights violated and their livelihoods undermined by the irresponsible trade and use of deadly weapons. The current international arms control system is failing to adequately regulate the arms trade and hold arms brokers and dealers accountable for their actions. As a result weapons continue to be transferred into environments where they are undermining development and fuelling human rights abuses. Oxfam has produced this report to examine publically available information about one specific case of illicit arms brokering.
Increased defense spending drains governmental resources, which could otherwise fund education, health care, and social development. Further, many developing countries’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are being undermined by irresponsible arms transfers, which fuel armed conflict and interfere with their citizens’ economic, social, and cultural rights. This report argues that while it is crucial to look at the continuing demand for weapons and the reasons communities or states resort to armed violence, strong initiatives must be taken to address their supply and availability. A strong Arms Trade Treaty is urgently needed to ensure that all states involved in an arms transfer consider the impact on the MDGs and on sustainable development.
Africa suffers enormously from conflict and armed violence. As well as the human tragedy, armed conflict costs Africa around $18bn per year, seriously derailing development. The most commonly used weapons in Africa’s conflicts are Kalashnikov assault rifles. The vast majority of these weapons and their ammunition – perhaps 95 per cent - come from outside Africa. To protect lives and livelihoods, the 2008 UN Group of Governmental Experts working on the Arms Trade Treaty must ensure swift progress towards a strong and effective Treaty. All governments have a role to play in ensuring its success. Foreword by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
While small arms do not themselves cause conflict, they make it much deadlier, and a shortage of bullets can reduce or even stop fighting altogether. This briefing note sheds light on a problem enveloping much of the developing world.
Despite the fact that every one of the 13 United Nations arms embargoes imposed in the last decade has been systematically violated, only a handful of the many arms embargo breakers named in UN sanctions reports has been successfully prosecuted. This briefing provides a summary and overview of current concerns over the enforcement and monitoring of UN arms embargoes.