Luxembourg's Asselborn pledges support for arms trade regulation
(CS) Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn on Monday spoke at the First Conference of Parties of the Arms Trade Tready, saying efforts need to continue to regulate arms trade and put an end to human suffering.
Speaking at the conference hosted in Cancun, Mexico, Asselborn welcomed the fact that 72 countries already ratified the treaty since it came into force on December 24 last year. Another 59 states have signed the treaty but are still in the process of ratifying it.
However, he urged more countries and arms manufacturers to join the effort.
Asselborn also suggested that financial assistance should be given to poorer nations wanting to implement the treaty but lacking in the necessary resources and administrative infrastructure to do so.
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) aims at regulating international weapons trade by obligating member states to monitor arms exports, as well as ensuring that weapons do not cross borders illegally and are not used for human rights abuses.
The treaty does not, however, ban the export of weapons as such. Rather, it wants to encourage responsible action among the international community and contribute to peace, security and stability, and reduce human suffering by promoting cooperation and transparency.
“Luxembourg belongs neither to the countries producing or exporting arms nor to those countries who are directly affected by conflict and suffering caused by conventional arms,” Asselborn commented. “But the preservation of peace and security, the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law our the foundations of our collective security and a responsibility that falls on us all.”
It is that sense of responsibility, the minister added, that should guide all countries in ensuring a strict enforcement of the ATT. “Luxembourg will spare no effort” to ensure this on its part, Asselborn explained.
The treaty, Asselborn concluded, still faces a number of challenges. “We must strive to avoid a perception that the member states are an exclusive club of like-minded countries,” the Luxembourg Foreign Minister said, commenting that an atmosphere of openness and inclusiveness should be aimed for to help make the treaty universal.
Countries in need of assistance should receive this, Asselborn reiterated, adding that reports about the ATT's progress should be made public and transparent. Additionally, to better manage the project a permanent secretariat should be installed at UN level, the minister urged.
With NGOs and civil society having played a big part in formulating the treaty and bringing it to life, Asselborn said it was key to keep listening to these players.
“It is by working together, in good faith and a spirit of concensus, to universalise and implement the Arms Trade Treaty, that we can help ensure that this goal is reached,” Asselborn concluded. “We have to seize this historic opportunity which the Arms Trade Treaty present. We have to make it a success for future generations.”