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National statements

Arms Trade Treaty Ratification Event: “Approaching Entry Into Force”

Thematic issues

  • Humanitarian
  • Small arms


Statement by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia

As one of the original Co-Authors of the Arms Trade Treaty, Australia has played an active role in the ATT process from its inception.

I am very pleased to be depositing our instrument of ratification alongside Australia's close neighbour Samoa, as well as countries from other regions affected by illicit arms trafficking and armed violence.

The broad cross-regional support the Arms Trade Treaty has enjoyed from the beginning has been one of the reasons behind its success. We must continue to build on this support as we move forward towards the Treaty's entry into force and effective implementation, capturing and re-energising the consensus built from across a broad regional constituency to take the Treaty into the next phase.

In Australia's own region, conventional weapons, particularly small arms and light weapons, continue to have a damaging impact on communities and livelihoods. As we have seen with alarming frequency, the spread of even relatively small quantities of arms and ammunition can take a devastating toll and cause irreparable damage.

As a member of the UN Security Council, Australia has seen all too clearly the impact of these weapons as drivers of instability, conflict and violence – and the enormous toll not only on economic prosperity and development but also on human life.

Australia has worked within the Security Council to reinforce the Arms Trade Treaty and to emphasise the important contribution it can make to international and regional peace, security and stability, and to reducing human suffering. Last year, Australia initiated and led negotiations on the first ever UN Security Council resolution on small arms and light weapons (UNSC Resolution 2117) which was adopted during our Presidency of the Council on 26 September.

By establishing, for the first time, globally-agreed standards for the regulation of the international conventional arms trade, the Arms Trade Treaty will help reduce illegal and irresponsible transfers of weapons which threaten the security of so many countries.

But our real work is only just beginning. Ensuring the Treaty is properly implemented at the national, regional and global levels will be key to preventing the diversion of arms to illicit markets and to addressing those humanitarian concerns that led us to begin work on a Treaty around eight years ago.

Providing practical technical and legal assistance and capacity-building to developing countries will be instrumental to this process. This is why Australia helped to establish the UN Trust Facility for Supporting Co-operation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR) with a $1 million contribution in 2013, and why it has just provided a further $1 million for this facility.

UNSCAR has already provided much needed assistance to help countries to ratify the ATT, and is now inviting proposals for the second round of funding. Australia encourages all those in a position to do so to contribute generously to this initiative, which is helping governments, UN organisations and civil society to make an actual difference on the ground.

Australia looks forward to participating in the First Conference of States Parties for the ATT, which Mexico has offered to host, and where important decisions will be taken regarding the future of the Treaty.

Australia encourages all States that have not yet ratified the Arms Trade Treaty to do so. The ATT will save lives and prevent human suffering. It is a vitally important treaty.

Thank you.

Last Updated: 4 June 2015
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