In April 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a milestone in the global endeavor to advance arms control and international security. For the first, the ATT lays down internationally binding rules and common minimum standards for arms exports. It covers battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft and attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers as well as small arms and light weapons. Prior to exporting any of these items, supplier countries must now assess whether they could be used to seriously violate human rights or international humanitarian law.
The absence of international standards for the trade of conventional arms and the lack of effective arms export control systems in many countries has contributed to a flourishing market in illicit weapons, especially small arms and light weapons (SALW). These arms often fuel conflicts and can be misused against civilian populations.
From the very beginning of the negotiation process, Germany has therefore been a strong supporter of a robust and effective ATT. Germany was also among the first countries to sign the treaty on 3 June 2013 and has already concluded the necessary process of parliamentary approval. We are actively lobbying other countries to conclude the ratification process in order to swiftly reach the threshold of 50 ratifications, necessary for the ATT to entry into force.