You are here: UNA-UK Chairman writes to The Times and Daily Telegraph on the ATT

19 March 2013

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Chairman of UNA-UK, has had letters printed in today’s The Times and the Daily Telegraph newspapers calling for a robust Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

The letters, published as delegations from the UN member states are gathered in New York to finalise an Arms Trade Treaty, warn of the perils of adopting a watered down treaty whilst urging the UK to use its influence to build support for a robust ATT:

“The draft treaty currently under discussion does not sufficiently regulate ammunition or the export of weapons in part or component form.  Perhaps most worryingly, the criteria on preventing transfers to human rights abusers are so weak that some believe only a genocide would activate them. If adopted without change, the text could institutionalise unacceptably low standards or, worse, legitimise irresponsible behaviour.

The vast majority of states, including the UK, that support a strong treaty should not let a minority of obstructive countries jeopardise proceedings.  If agreement on an effective, robust text cannot be reached, they should be prepared to take negotiations to the General Assembly later this year.

Then, discussions need not be constricted by consensus and the weight of the multitude of states that want to secure a strong treaty would be felt.

While a treaty with broad participation should remain the objective, a robust text - even if not all states are willing to sign it immediately - will prove far more effective in the long run than a weak treaty that states subscribe to but subsequently ignore.

Conflict areas awash with arms threaten the UK's direct interest in international stability. It is time to stand up for an arms trade treaty that makes a difference.  UNA-UK’s members and supporters will be doing just that.”

[Extract from Sir Jeremy's letter in The Times newspaper, 19 March 2013]

Click here to download a PDF of the full versions of Sir Jeremy’s letters in The Times and the Daily Telegraph

Keep track of the latest behind-the-scenes developments

Ben Donaldson, UNA-UK's Communications and Campaigns Officer, will be in New York for the second week of negotiations (22-28 March), working as part of the Control Arms Coalition: