Global Civil Society and the Arms Trade Treaty

Global Policy, a peer-reviewed academic journal read widely in scholarly and policymaking circles, has just released online a Special Section of four articles on the Arms Trade Treaty and Global Civil Society. The articles will be published in an upcoming issue, but are available online.

The Special Section was edited by me and written by academics and practitioners who have had varying levels of involvement in the campaign for a “bulletproof” treaty. The essays provide an overview of the treaty, the normative implications of its negotiation and text, the involvement of civil society and a commentary on its potential future impact. I have included here the abstract of the introductory essay “The Arms Trade Treaty from a Global Civil Society Perspective”:

The 2013 Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) offers the first comprehensive, global and legally binding standards on the trade and transfer of conventional arms. The idea for the treaty was conceived not in the boardrooms of weapons manufacturers, nor in the assembly halls of statecraft, but rather by civil society activists and Nobel Laureates – practitioners, academics, survivors and researchers and advocates. And its robust provisions on human rights, humanitarian law and gender were championed by states often marginalized by traditional arms control. The resultant treaty is a sort of ‘platypus’ of international law – simultaneously an arms control regime, an instrument of human rights and humanitarian law and a trade agreement. Given its widespread acceptance and likely rapid entry into force, it could have a wide-ranging impact on global policy making in many issue areas. But as with any new framework of global policy, the ATT represents a compromise, recognizing the legitimacy of states’ rights to trade in weapons. This special section on the ATT, written from the perspective of scholars and practitioners associated with the civil society campaign that championed the treaty, reviews the ATT’s normative implications, role of NGOs and implementation challenges.

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 15 October 2014.

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