Update: 23.11.2016

The Arms Trade Treaty

Signed 2 April 2013 (entered into force 24 December 2014)

Text of the treaty: German / French / Italian / English

The Arms Trade Treaty regulates the trading of conventional arms. The treaty sets binding standards on the regulation and control of the international trade of conventional weapons for the first time. It expressly forbids the transfer of weapons to a country if there is a great risk that the weapons will be used to commit violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law. The signatory states are obliged to define these risks for every arms deal. If these weapons might threaten the peace and security, no arms may be exported to the respective country.

Conventional armaments include all arms except weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological, chemical weapons). According to the treaty, this includes tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, fighter planes, attack helicopters, warships, explosive missiles and explosive missile launchers, as well as small arms and light weapons.

Moreover, national control systems for ammunition and parts and components of conventional weapons are to be created and maintained. International weapons trade that will be regulated includes the export, import, transit, transhipment and transfer of conventional weapons.

A secretariat located in Geneva will help the member states effectively implement this treaty. The member states are asked to provide a yearly report to the secretariat on approved or actual exports and imports of conventional weapons. In addition, an annual conference of all member states will be held. The treaty does not include any other supervision or implementation instruments. So far, 102 states have ratified the treaty (as of 21 May 2019).

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