Futureproof the Arms Trade Treaty

The preamble of the United Nations Charter states that the purpose of the Organization is to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” If the delegates currently negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the UN building in New York want to make the treaty relevant for future generations, they must make some critical changes to the Chair’s draft distributed 20 March 2013 in order to cover the emerging class of robotic, “unmanned” and autonomous weapons. This includes drones, but also military land and sea robots, as well as related parts, components and technologies.

In this two page policy brief, Wim Zwijnenburg, Policy Advisor Security & Disarmament, IKV Pax Christi and I outline five ways to “futureproof” the ATT so that it will cover new and future developments in weapons technology. In brief, we argue the treaty needs to:

  1. Broaden the Scope (Article 2) to include all conventional weapons, not just those listed in the UN Register of Conventional Weapons and small arms and light weapons
  2. Include explicit reference in the Scope to unmanned weapons
  3. Move ammunition and munitions into the Scope
  4. Move parts, components and an explicit reference to technology into the Scope
  5. Include in Article 15 on Conferences of States Parties specific provision for review of new weapons systems and technologies that are currently not included in the draft.

Click here to read the full paper

UPDATE 22 March 2013: Reaching Critical Will has published an updated version of this paper in ATT Monitor. Click here to read it (pp. 3-4).

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 21 March 2013.

One Response to “Futureproof the Arms Trade Treaty”

  1. […] But the treaty that was approved has some notable loopholes and weaknesses. Ammunition and parts and components of weapons are covered in a less stringent part of the treaty. Assistance to victims of armed violence has been relegated to the preamble. Earlier draft provisions taking into consideration the impact of the arms trade on socio-economic development have disappeared in the final text. There are also concerns that categories of weapons included in the scope may not be flexible enough to cover new weapons technologies. […]

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