UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) – A treaty laying down international rules for the $85 billion dollar global arms trade goes into force on Wednesday with campaigners vowing to make sure it is strictly implemented.
The United States – by far the world’s largest arms producer and exporter – has signed the treaty, but has yet to ratify it.
Other key exporters such as France, Britain and Germany have ratified the charter and pledged to adhere to its strict criteria aimed at cutting off weapons supplies to human rights violators worldwide.
“For too long, arms and ammunition have been traded with few questions asked about whose lives they will destroy,” said Anna Macdonald, director of the Control Arms coalition of non-governmental organisations.
“The new Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which enters into force this week will bring that to an end.”
“It is now finally against international law to put weapons into the hands of human rights abusers and dictators,” she said.
A total of 130 countries have signed the treaty and 60 have ratified it, including Israel which joined the movement just this month.
Campaigners however say much work lies ahead to implement the treaty, with a first meeting of the states parties to the treaty to be held around September next year.
Decisions will have to be made about the financing mechanisms for the pact and setting up a secretariat to oversee its implementation.
Amnesty International noted that five of the top 10 arms exporters – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain – have ratified the ATT. China and Russia have yet to sign on.