Arms Trade Treaty inquiry launched

15 April 2016

The Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) launch an inquiry into the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons. The inquiry looks at the impact that the treaty has had on the arms trade and how it could be made more effective. The Committees also examine how the UK has applied the treaty to its defence exports and the effect this has had.

Chair's comments

Committee chair, Chris White, said:

"The Arms Trade Treaty was established to strengthen the regulation of the international trade in conventional arms and limit the illicit trade in weapons that can cause such destabilisation and human suffering around the world. The treaty has so far been signed by 130 nations, and ratified by 83, including the United Kingdom and four other nations in the top ten arms exporters.
"There have been claims however that loopholes in the treaty are rendering it less effective than it should be, for example allowing the export of high powered shotguns if marketed for hunting. We have launched this inquiry to assess how the ATT has improved regulation in practice, and if there are any areas where it can be strengthened."

Terms of reference  

Written submissions are invited on the following questions:

  • What role has the Arms Trade Treaty played in changing the nature of international arms sales?
  • What should the purpose of the Treaty be?
  • How could the Treaty be amended to make it more effective?
  • Does the Treaty contain sufficiently strong safeguards to protect national sovereignty and self-defence?
  • How effectively has the UK applied the Treaty to its defence exports and what effect has it had?

Deadline for submissions

Written submissions should arrive by 31 May 2016.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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