The event at the Scotland Office in Edinburgh marked the efforts of campaigners in Scotland and the vital role they played in ensuring the successful negotiation of an international Arms Trade Treaty.
Last month, an overwhelming majority at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, voted in favour of the landmark Arms Trade Treaty, regulating the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft, and warships.
The UK Government has led efforts to regulate the international trade in weapons since co-authoring the first UN Resolution on the issue in 2006.
The key provisions agreed in the Treaty include:-
- A global baseline for regulating arms exports
- The first ever internationally legally binding agreement on the transfer of small arms and light weapons.
- A mandatory requirement that arms exports be assessed on the basis of criteria which includes human rights impact and mandatory refusal if they pose an unacceptable risk
- Mainstreaming of sustainable development and anti-corruption
- Regulation of arms brokering
- Mandatory reporting on transfers and authorisations of conventional arms.
The Secretary of State for Scotland said:
“The Arms Trade Treaty is a breakthrough moment in the global battle against the illegal arms trade. Getting to this point is a great example of what can be achieved when Government, civil society and individuals work together.
“Within the UN the UK Government has led the way in campaigning for the regulation of the international trade in weapons. Throughout the process we have had an unwavering commitment to establish a Treaty that is strong enough to make a real difference.
“Today we have had the chance to celebrate what has been achieved by individuals, civil society partners and Government working closely together. There is still important work to be done, but I am sure that those here today such as Amnesty and David Grimason will continue to play an important role in ensuring global implementation of the Treaty.”
The Secretary of State also presented David Grimason with a letter of thanks from the UK Government to recognise his contribution towards the campaign.
Mr Moore added:
“Today’s event has provided the opportunity to thank David Grimason for all the hard work he has undertaken over the past ten years. Turning a tragic experience into an international campaign, David has shown leadership and immense determination over the last decade. Travelling all over the world, from Kenya to New York, lobbying the UN for this Treaty, he has made a huge impact in addition to raising the profile of the debate here in Scotland”
David Grimason said:
“This has been a really emotional journey for me. It is still amazing to me that the years of campaigning with Amnesty and the Control Arms movement has resulted in an Arms Trade Treaty being within our reach. The experience at the UN in New York will stay with me – witnessing more than 150 states voting in favour of this historic new treaty restored my hope.
“However, we need to finish the work by ensuring as many countries as possible sign the Treaty on 3 June to help it become international law. Only then will lives be saved. The death of my son Alistair personally affected me and inspired me to campaign against the illegal arms trade and I know this Treaty has the power to make a real difference and save lives around the world.”
Amnesty International Scotland, Programme Director Mark Bevan said:
“For every minute of every day we have been campaigning for this historic Arms Trade Treaty a human being has been killed in violence and armed conflict. This is why the adoption of this Treaty is such a huge achievement – we want to reduce suffering and save lives.
“It is a good time to celebrate the success of the campaign and I would like to personally thank David Grimason, our Control Arms partners, and the campaigners who have worked tirelessly to make the idea of a Treaty a reality. It is within reach but we are calling for the maximum amount of signatures possible on June 3, followed by swift ratification of the required 50 states to bring the Treaty into force”
Read more about:-
The UK’s Government’s work on the Arms Trade Treaty
The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty