2 April 2013
Historic General Assembly Vote Ushers in Global Arms Treaty
An overwhelming number of United Nations Member States voted to introduce a global Arms Trade Treaty which would regulate the international trade and transfer of conventional arms.
For about ten years, several States and civil society groups have lamented the absence of global standards which can regulate the $70 billion business in conventional arms and also stop the transfer of arms to groups and regimes which would use them to cause human suffering.
UN Secretary General, Ban ki-Moon welcomed the vote, he said "the treaty will help keep warlords, pirates, terrorists, criminals and their like from acquiring deadly arms." In the same note, civil society groups have welcomed the outcome saying the treaty will save lives and that it marks "an incredible moment" signaling the dawn of a new era.
The official UN tally showed 154 votes in favour, 3 against, and 23 States abstained. The results were remarkable considering that Iran, North Korea and Syria had blocked the Treaty's adoption by consensus only five days earlier on the last day of the Final Conference.
While many States in explaining their votes were critical of the shortcomings of the treaty and the fact that the treaty seemed to place less burden on exporting States, they were however optimistic that it would create binding obligations for governments to assess all transfers of conventional arms to ensure that their end use will not contribute to violations of human rights, terrorism, transnational organized crime or violations of international humanitarian law.
Iran, North Korea and Syria which all voted against the resolution, are concerned that their arms imports would be affected as exporters would be mandated by the treaty to consider some risks before approving a transfer. While Russia and China did not block, they joined Venezuela, India, Nicaragua, Oman and others in abstaining. Another major concern for these States is that the treaty does not explicitly ban transfers to armed groups which they found to be unacceptable.
The United States which blocked the adoption of the treaty by consensus in the July 2012 Conference voted in favour of the treaty. While it is unlikely that the United States, which is also the world's largest arms exporter will ratify the treaty, its decision to vote in support despite fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association, was welcomed by many States.
All CARICOM Member States voted in favour of the treaty and they are expected to sign when the treaty opens for signature on June 3, 2013. It will enter into force after the 50th signatory ratifies it.
29 March 2013
Bid for Consensus on Arms Trade Treaty Fails
The unfortunate ending of the Final Conference on the UN Arms Trade Treaty is just another justification for the argument that UN Member States cannot unanimously agree on the most important issues affecting mankind.
The Conference unceremoniously ended last night having been unable to reach a deal after Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked adoption of the treaty by consensus as required in the Rules of Procedure agreed at the beginning of the Conference. While this was not surprising given that these group of States have traditionally adopted radical and often regressive positions on important global issues, it however reignites further concerns regarding the suitability of 'decision making by consensus' at the United Nations.
All is not lost, several other States including Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of CARICOM Member States, took the floor to support Kenya's proposal to take the text to the General Assembly for a vote after the President of the Conference, Ambassador Woolcott, delivers his report to the Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, on Tuesday 2 April, 2013.
Oxfam's Head of Arms Control, Anna McDonald said "the world has been held hostage by three States. We have known all along that the consensus process was deeply flawed and today we see it actually dysfunctional. Countries such as Iran, Syria and DPRK should not be allowed to dictate to the rest of the world how the sale of weapons should be regulated." While Campaigners were disappointed with the outcome, the Control Arms Coalition noted that "the historic treaty is still within reach."
26 March 2013
Two More Days to Get It Right
18 March 2013
Final UNATT Conference gets underway in New York
The final conference on the Arms Trade Treaty kicked off with strong statements during the General Exchange of Views by States on their expectations from the Conference. The conference is being chaired by President-Designate, Ambassador Peter Woolcott of Australia who was unanimously endorsed as President of the conference.
In addressing the delegates for the first time, President Ambassador Woolcott said he shared the “broad disappointment” of delegates in July 2012, but that this sentiment had now given way to “determination”. He said the “world is ready for the ATT” and that it was “time to finish the job” and that delegates must now work “towards a consensus outcome.”
Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, also addressed the Conference ( http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=6662
After a very long journey, our final destination is in sight – a robust Arms Trade Treaty. It is a long time coming” he said. The continuing “absence of the rule of law in the conventional arms trade defies explanation” he remarked. He said that poorly regulated international arms deals ”undermine sustainable development”, “foster armed conflict” and “lead to massive human rights violations and threaten gender empowerment.” He concluded by saying “You are here to strengthen and conclude the work that has been done in earnest since the beginning of the ATT process in 2006.”
Ambassador Eden Charles, Lead Negotiator for CARICOM, was one of the speakers who took the floor in the morning. He called for a “robust and effective” treaty. He also noted CARICOM's strong views that ammunition and parts and components must be in the scope of the treaty and that the text on diversion needed to be strengthened. CARICOM called for the treaty to include provisions for transparent reporting and an independent Secretariat. CARICOM said it “will not support use of the consensus rule as a way of derailing process.”Members of Caribbean civil society are also participating in the conference. 10 March 2013
CARICOM Member States prepare for the Final Conference
CARICOM's Lead Negotiator at the Final Conference, Ambassador Eden Charles, noted that while the region shares similar views with members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the like-minded group of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), it has to be mindful of the strong views of other delegations and regions.
Following a successful conclusion of the regional preparatory workshop for the Final Arms Trade TreatyConference, CARICOM delegates to the 18-28 March Conference in New York are hopeful that UN States can agree to a Robust Treaty which will not only regulate the global trade in conventional arms and curb the diversions of arms into the illicit market.
7 March 2013
Fourth Regional Workshop on Negotiations for the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty
The Government of St.Vincent and the Grenadines, in conjunction with the Government of Australia and the Caribbean Coalition for Development and the Reduction of Armed Violence, hosted the Fourth Regional Workshop on Negotiation of an Arms Trade Treaty during the period March 6-7, 2013 in Kingstown.
The workshop was convened to allow CARICOM Member States to discuss the outcome of the Diplomatic Conference of July 2-27, 2012 and to agree on negotiating positions and strategies in preparation for the Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which is scheduled to take place at the United Nations Headquarters, New York during the period March 18-28, 2013.
Dr. the Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security of St. Vincent and the Grenadines delivered the feature address for the workshop. He noted that the CARICOM delegation must apply the łessons learned from the unsuccessful conclusion of the July Negotiations towards arriving at a global consensus during the final round of negotiations Both representatives of government and civil society participated in the workshop.
19 July 2012
CARICOM Member States pursuing small arms and ammunition in United Nations Negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
New York – July 19, 2012 – With roughly eight (8) more days left, negotiations have intensified at the United Nations in New York as Member States assiduously work towards a treaty that can potentially regulate the global trade in conventional arms.
CARICOM Member States are hopeful that an agreement can be reached on a robust and legally binding treaty to control the licit trade in conventional arms and prevent the diversion of arms to the illicit market and illegal activities across the region.
The treaty is expected to cover all international transfers of conventional arms including small arms which is a major concern for Caribbean populations given the increasing gun homicides that plague the region.
The Lead Negotiator for CARICOM is Ambassador Eden Charles of Trinidad and Tobago who has emphasised the importance of small arms and ammunition to Caribbean countries.
Civil society organisations from Guyana, Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines are attending the meeting led by the Women's Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD) of Trinidad and Tobago.
Folade Mutota, WINAD stated, "an ATT without small arms and light weapons as well as ammunition is unacceptable to Caribbean people. Our communities are under siege from the diversion of firearms to the illicit market and the consequent murderous acts and trauma experienced in too many communities. The ATT must meet our needs".
The Diplomatic Conference on the ATT ends July 27.
1 April 2012
SPEAK OUT: CONTROL ARMS NOW
Governments will come gather at the UN Headquarters, New York in July 2012 to negotiate a global treaty to better regulate the deadly trade of arms. By adding your voice in support of a bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty, you demonstrate that there is widespread support for a strong and effective treaty. To learn more about the Arms Trade Treaty and how you can support the campaign, click here for more information.
27 March 2012
100 Days of Speaking Out continues.....
The countdown to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations, which will take place at the United Nations from July 2-27, 2012 continues. Speak Out and Let Your Voice Count!!!
September 1, 2011: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Following their meeting at the Quadrennial Congress in San Jose, Costa Rica in August 2011, the WILPF released a Resolution on the Arms Trade Treaty. See more
July 12, 2011: Side Event at the ATT PrepCom
Saferworld in association with the Permanent Missions of Australia and Zambia organized "An implementation Framework for an effective Arms Trade Treaty." Presenters included:
- Robert Parker from Australia - Director, Counter-Proliferation Section, arms Control Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Shella Mweemba from Zambia - Director, Zambia Mine Action Centre, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Andrew Wood from the UK - Industry Representative
- David Anyanwu from Trinidad and Tobago - Programme Coordinator, Women's Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD)
July 11-15, 2011: Third UN PrepCom on the ATT
Third Preparatory Committee Meeting (PrepCom) on the Arms Trade Treaty commences at the United Nations, New York. The meeting will run from 11-15 July, 2011. The focus of the Third PrepCom is largely on implementation. The page will be updated with national and regional statements as they come in.
July 11, 2011: Man sentenced to nine (9) years imprisonment for possession of unlicensed firearm.
Richard, Joseph Parsons, 22, was sentenced to nine (9) years imprisonment for possession of an unlicensed 12-gauge shotgun.
July 11, 2011: More Guns Out!
More private Jamaican citizens have armed themselves with licenced pistols, data from the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) have revealed. This is in the wake of hundreds of gun licences being approved and issued to citizens and companies since the gun-control body relaxed several stipulations it previously enforced. Since 2009, the written test, which was the most difficult moving target for many applicants to hit, has been removed. The FLA has also reduced the... (GunPolicy.org). Read more here
May 18, 2011: Report from St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Convicted Police Officers Regain Jobs: Civil Society groups in St. Vincent have expressed shock over the re-instatement of three Police Officers who were found guilty of brutality to a teenage boy. It is felt in many circles that the decision by the Commissioner of Police to re-instate the Officers, is a green light to policemen to act with impunity; as they could commit criminal acts, get convicted, and retain their jobs. Evidence at the trial revealed that the 15-year old was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department around midday on November 18, 2008, where he was threatened with a gun, held down on a table and beaten with a hose, body-slammed three times o the floor on his chest and kicked several times while on the ground. He was taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital the following morning where he fell into a coma for seven days. Medical evidence revealed that, had the teenager not been put on ventilation, he might have died.
Football Brings Feuding Communities Together: Young people of Edinboro and Ottley Hall communities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have another avenue through which to develop their football and personal skills, on the way to healing the wounds which have separated them and which have also seen their villages torn apart by deaths from gun violence. The most recent effort is spearheaded by Ian Hypolite, General Secretary of the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Football Federation, and a resident of Edinboro. Hypolite began his Youth Football Programme in early April, during which time he has conducted sessions for youths from the two communities. Up to forty youths have accessed the programme which Hypolite sees as an opportunity “to build a relationship between two communities by networking, and life skill development aimed at establishing trust through discipline, team work, and a sense of belonging.” The programme will contribute to healing the gang feud which has festered between the communities of Edinboro and Ottley Hall.
Source: Committee for the Development of Women, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
May 15, 2011: WINAD's Annual Lecture Series
Contact WINAD for details including ticket information
April 28, 2011: Regional Seminar on the ATT for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in collaboration with the Government of Uruguay and the European Union hosted a regional seminar on the Arms Trade Treaty for the Americas and the Caribbean. The regional seminar, "Supporting the Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations through Regional Discussions and Expertise Sharing" took place in Montevideo, Uruguay on 27-29 April, 2011.
Click here for Folade Mutota's (CDRAV) presentation on the contribution of Civil Society to the ATT process.
Click here for the workshop agenda and list of participants.
April 12, 2011:
CDRAV in collaboration with the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACs) and Project Ploughshares hosted a Firearms Legislation Roundtable event on April 18-19, 2011 at the Almond Bay Conference Centre in Barbados. The meeting was attended by representatives from the CARICOM Secretariat, state capitals as well as civil society organizations.
Discussions focused on firearm legislations and laws in CARICOM states and the need for harmonization.
Click here for the workshop report.
March 28, 2011:
Private Security Companies' Firearms Stocpiles: The growing number and diversity in operation of Private Security Companies continue to generate global concerns. PSCs in Latin America appear to be more armed than in other regions. A survey of the industry in Europe reveals that the proportion of PSC personnel that is authorized to be armed is about 40 per cent in Bulgaria, just under 25 per cent in Slovenia, Spain and Turkey, and below 10 per cent in Croatia, Germany and Sweden.
March 18, 2011:
Global Day of Action on Military Spending: Cut Global Military Spending Now!!! In response to the release of figures on military expenditure by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), civil society groups around the world will be holding events to mark a Global Day of Action on Military Spending. For more see http://demilitarize.org/Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence: IANSA announces the date for this year's Global, 13-19 June. The week of action highlights the international campaign to stop the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. See www.iansa.org for more.
March 15, 2011
Arms Trade Treaty Second Preparatory Committee Meeting February 28 - March 4, 2011
- Joint statement by the delegations of The Bahamas, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay and Trinidad and Tobago at the Second PrepCom on the ATT
March 3, 2011
- Trinidad and Tobago's statement on the Chairman's Paper
- Statement by OXFAM on development on the day 4
March 2, 2011
- CARICOM statement on International Cooperation and Assistance at the ATT PrepCom
- Statement from Trinidad and Tobago at the PrepCom on International Cooperation and Assistance
- Statement by the EU on International Cooperation and Assistance
March 1, 2011
- Statement by Trinidad and Tobago on the Criteria and Parameters of the ATT
- CARICOM statement on Parameters delivered at the PrepComm
- Statement by Belize on the Parameters and Criteria of the ATT
- Statement by the EU on the parameters and Criteria of the ATT
- Suriname statement on Criteria and Parameters of the ATT
February 28, 2011
Summarizing Day 1:
While the number of delegations in support of an expanded scope for the ATT continues to grow, some key states are still concerned about a widened scope that includes SALW and ammunition.
In its statement at the meeting, CARICOM called for the inclusion of SALW components and ammunition, arguing that without bullets, SALW are useless. Similarly, Trinidad and Tobago was in support of CARICOM's position and added it would not be too difficult to implement provisions on marking and tracing ammunition, given that the technology for this already exists.
At the end of Day 1, many parties including Norway, the EU, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Brazil, UK and CARICOM expressed support for an expanded scope that includes SALW and ammunition. Major objections came from Egypt which argued that the scope of the ATT should be restricted to the seven categories of weapons in the UN Register, while the Arab Group expressed concern about the misuse and politicization of the ATT by states.
- Statement by His Excellency, Ambassador Rodney Charles - Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the UN at the PrepCom on the issue of the Scope of the ATT.
- Statement by CARICOM on the Scope of an ATT delivered on 28 February, 2011 at the Second PrepCom.
- Statement by the Government of Belize on the Scope of the ATT
- Statement by the African Group on the Scope of the ATT
February 24, 2011: Firearm Legislation in the Caribbean
Second Regional Workshop on the Negotiations for the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Port of Spain Trinidad. The Workshop which was jointly hosted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the Government of Australia and the CDRAV from 31st January to 1st February 2011 was attended by CARICOM representatives, state officials from both capital and UN missions, as well as representatives of Civil Society Organizations from around the Caribbean. The workshop provided a forum for member states and civil society to review and analyze the discussions on the ATT, particularly discussions from the first PrepCom which took place at the Headquarters of the United Nations from 5-6 July, 2010.See below for workshop documents:
1. Report of the Second Regional Workshop 2011
Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Dr. the Honourable Surujrattan Rambachan at the Opening Ceremony of the Regional Workshop on the ATT.
CDRAV working paper on
The Bahamas becomes first CARICOM member to sign OAS Agreement
.The Bahamas, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Uruguay became the first OAS members to sign a cooperation agreement for the implementation of the project "Promoting Firearms Marking in Latin America and the Caribbean." The cooperation agreement with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) was signed at the headquarters of the OAS in Washington, DC. Read on...
CDRAV In-Country Trainings for National NGOs continues with a two-day capacity building training workshop on 13 January, 2011 in Saint Lucia. The workshop will be hosted by the Non-State Actors Panel of Saint Lucia.
Trinidad and Tobago
- Parliament debates the Anti-Gang Bill, 2010 as part of its attack on criminal activities in the country.
Trinidad and Tobago
- The Senate debates the Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2010 which seeks to increase the penalties for certain offences involving a firearm or any prohibited weapon, as defined by the Firearms Act, by up to 50 percent.
Trinidad and Tobago - WINAD launches documentary. Our Story: Women, Peace and Security in Trinidad and Tobago
In 2010, the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD), in collaboration with the Hope Support Group and the European Union embarked on a timely project to document the impact of armed violence on women particularly those who have lost children to armed violence. The primary aim of this project is to investigate and document the challenges of losing a direct relative (child, son, daughter, husband etc) to armed violence and the impact of such loss to women and families
. Click for complete summary
Visit the Information Page for all Updates on the UN Arms Trade Treaty PrepComm Meetings, New York City, 12-23 July, 2010
See the Report of the Regional Workshop on Negotiations for Arms Trade Treaty.
Please visit the INFORMATION Page to see highlights of the Preparatory Regional Workshop on Negotiations for an Arms Trade Treaty, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 5-6th July, 2010
Caribbean Coalition for Development and the Reduction of Armed Violence (CDRAV)
Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Partner: Project Ploughshares, Canada
To provide civil society leadership in the prevention and alleviation of armed violence and the pursuit of development in the Caribbean, guided by the principles of a rights based approach.
The development of the region and the reduction of armed violence by mobilizing Caribbean civil society to engage in research and advocacy to influence through collaboration, , and capacity building.
Mobilise civil society partners throughout the region around the issue of armed violence.
1. To build strategic partnerships within individual states and across states
2. To facilitate cooperation between regional institutions and international agencies
3. To promote and develop awareness raising campaigns on development and armed violence
4. To enhance the capacity of partners through on development and armed violence
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