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The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) enters into force

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) enter into force today, 24 December 2014. Ninety-one states have ratified, and a further 42 states have signed but not ratified the ATT adopted on 2 April 2013, by the UN General Assembly.

The ATT is an attempt to regulate the international trade of conventional weapons for the purpose of contributing to international and regional peace; reducing human suffering; and promoting co-operation, transparency, and responsible action by and among states.

International weapons commerce has been estimated to reach US$70 billion a year.

The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs claimed the treaty would not interfere with domestic arms commerce or the right to bear arms in its member states; ban the export of any type of weapon; harm the legitimate right to self-defence; or undermine national arms regulation standards already in place.

The Arms Trade Treaty obligates member states to monitor arms exports and ensure that weapons don't cross existing arms embargoes or end up being used for human-rights abuses, including terrorism. Member states, with the assistance of the U.N., will put into place enforceable, standardized arms import and export regulations (much like those that already exist in the U.S.) and be expected to track the destination of exports to ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands. Ideally, that means limiting the inflow of deadly weapons into places like Syria.

It would ensure that no transfer is permitted if there is substantial risk that it is likely to:
- be used in serious violations of international human rights or humanitarian law, or acts of genocide or crimes against humanity;
- facilitate terrorist attacks, a pattern of gender-based violence, violent crime, or organized crime;
- violate UN Charter obligations, including UN arms embargoes;
- be diverted from its stated recipient;
- adversely affect regional security; or
- seriously impair poverty reduction or socioeconomic development.

Loopholes would be minimized. It would include:
- all weapons—including all military, security, and police arms, related equipment and ammunition, components, expertise, and production equipment;
- all types of transfer—including import, export, re-export, temporary transfer, and transshipment, in the state sanctioned and commercial trade, plus transfers of technology, loans, gifts, and aid; and
- all transactions—including those by dealers and brokers, and those providing technical assistance, training, transport, storage, finance, and security.