Factors Affecting the Formation of Arms Trade Treaty


International community’s concerns about inhuman effects of conventional weapons in different countries, especially in crisis-hit African nations, and the possibility that criminals, illegal armed groups and terrorists may use such weapons against civilians, including women and children, prompted serious efforts for the adoption of effective international mechanisms. Extensive consultation among countries finally led to the adoption of various international conventions and treaties on small and light weapons, anti-personnel mines, and cluster bombs. However, growing concerns over illegal trade and smuggling of conventional weapons in different parts of the world prompted some countries and nongovernmental organizations to launch a campaign in this regard. As a result of their extensive lobbies and efforts, the Arms Trade Treaty was drafted without serious talks among countries and only based on the viewpoints of a limited group of states. Since a consensus was not reached in the UN Conference on Arms Trade, this treaty was finally approved through voting at the UN General Assembly in March 2013, with its main goal being the introduction of common international standards to control all forms of import, export and transfer of conventional weapons. The present research discusses underlying grounds for the formulation of the Arms Trade Treaty while assessing the process of the ratification of this treaty by international community to enforce global controls on conventional weapons.