The UN General Assembly today, 2 April, adopted a historic Arms Trade Treaty with 154 votes cast in favour (3 against, 23 abstained). Finland was one of the 108 co-sponsors of the text of the Treaty and voted in its favour.
The Treaty has been under preparation for many years. The negotiations with a view to the treaty that took place last summer created a solid foundation for the negotiations now held, through which the text of the Treaty has been further strengthened.
The Treaty establishes provisions for the export, import, transit, trans-shipment and brokering of arms transfers. The Treaty is the first to regulate the global trade in conventional weapons. It can be used to combat the illegal trade in arms, which causes untold human suffering, especially in developing countries. Conflicts in the least developed countries, particularly in Africa, are the biggest obstacles to development.
The Treaty contains strong prohibitions and strong provisions pertaining to international humanitarian law and human rights that must be observed in the transfer of conventional arms. The effects of these provisions must be assessed when exporting arms, ammunition, parts and components. In exporting arms, parts and components, the Treaty requires that the effects of export on gender-based violence must also be considered. This is a significant step forward as an entry in an international Treaty.
The Treaty also includes the possibility of review after its entry into force. The Treaty will enter into force once 50 countries have ratified it, and it will be opened for signature on 3 June 2013.
Finland is one of the seven initiators of the Arms Trade Treaty process, along with Australia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Great Britain, Japan and Kenya. Foreign Minister Tuomioja has played an active role in order to achieve the Arms Trade Treaty, working since 2006 together with the other initiators, the Nordic countries, the Member States of the EU and the UN, and non-governmental organisations.
Additional information: Counsellor Riitta Resch, mobile tel. +358 50 526 3318, Chief of Cabinet Katja Pehrman, mobile tel. +358 40 181 9257.