“Countries in all continents should become parties to the Arms Trade Treaty. Countries both big and small, major arms producing states and developing countries alike should all ratify the Treaty,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja appealed at the High Level Event held at the UN, where the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and measures to promote its entry into force were being discussed.
Together with Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Japan, Kenya and the United Kingdom, Finland is one of the initiators of the Arms Trade Treaty process. Finland has taken an active part in the negotiations about the Treaty from their start seven years ago.
“The Treaty is the first ever binding instrument to regulate international transfers of conventional arms,” Tuomioja pointed out when speaking on behalf of all seven co-authors in New York. With regard to arms transfers, the Treaty includes robust criteria based on human rights and international humanitarian law, which are to be adhered to in the licensing of conventional arms. The Treaty encompasses conventional arms intended for military use, as well as small arms and light weapons, ammunition, parts and components.
“We all know that unregulated access to arms has caused worldwide human suffering. This Treaty will have an impact on the lives of millions of people; men, women and children,” Tuomioja stated. The ATT is the first treaty that specifically mentions gender-based violence as a threat that must be taken into account when arms exports are evaluated.
“It does not suffice that we have adopted the Treaty text. The ATT should enter into force as soon as possible. We are pleased to note that already 107 states have signed the Treaty and six have ratified it,” Minister Tuomioja said. Secretary of State John Kerry signed the Treaty for the United States in New York on Wednesday.
Finland was among the first countries to sign the Treaty on 3 June 2013. The Finnish Parliament will debate the ratification of the Treaty during this autumn session. Thereafter, the intention is to apply temporary licensing criteria pertaining to arms transfers before the Treaty enters into force internationally.
All EU Member States strive to bring the Arms Trade Treaty into force as soon as possible and to promote the international entry into force of the Treaty. Finland stresses the importance of the Treaty and underlines the alleviation of the negative consequences of irresponsible arms trade for the civilian population, especially women and children.
Additional information: Markku Virri, Head of the Unit for Arms Control, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 9 160 56185, or Counsellor Pia Hillo, email@example.com, tel. +358 9 160 55584