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Luxembourg welcomes the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty

Published Wednesday April 03 2013

In the name of the Luxembourg Government, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn welcomed the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2013, after seven years of multilateral negotiations.

The adoption by 155 votes in favour, with only 3 votes against and 22 abstentions reflects strong political will from a vast majority of Member states, wishing to have a universal legally binding instrument, which sets the highest possible common standards in terms of exports, imports and transfers of conventional arms. The vote also bears witness to the high quality of preparatory work done by the United Nations Final Conference for an Arms Trade Treaty, which was held from 18 to 28 March 2013 and which allowed for the adoption of a robust and balanced Treaty.

Luxembourg saluted the work of the of the President of the Final Conference, Australian Ambassador Woolcott and his team and also paid tribute to the work previously accomplished under the aegis of Argentinian Ambassador Roberto García Moritán, as well as the numerous non-governmental organisations which have supported this process since its inception in 2006. The final result owes much to their perseverance in the struggle towards an ATT.

The Treaty represents a considerable advance for international law, international humanitarian law and human rights. It is of particular note that the Treaty contains a clause forbidding the transfer of conventional arms if the State party which has to authorise the transfer has knowledge of the fact that these arms would be used to commit acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or other grave violations of human rights.

The Treaty is certainly not perfect, but it represents the best possible compromise under current circumstances. It also contains provisions to allow strengthening it in the future, in the light of lessons learned and technological developments in conventional arms.

On June 3rd, the Secretary-General, in his role as Depositary of the Treaty, will open the Treaty for signature. In order to enter into force, the Treaty will have to be ratified by 50 Member states.

Luxembourg takes note of the fact that a number of large UN Member states have abstained from the vote, reserving their final position. It can be hoped that all Member states can support the Treaty in due course, in order to confer it a universal character.

Now is the time to work towards a quick entry into force of the Treaty. Luxembourg commits to taking the necessary measures to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty as soon as possible.

Link to the Arms Trade Treaty as adopted by the General Assembly