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UN Arms Trade Treaty

Published March 27, 2013

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on April 2, 2013. The press release says the treaty makes it "harder for human rights abusers, criminals and arms traffickers to obtain weapons" and gives a brief history of the treaty from the 1990s. The United States signed the treaty, but Congress has not yet ratified it.

Excerpt from the treaty text:

Article 1
Object and Purpose
The object of this Treaty is to:
– Establish the highest possible common international standards for regulating or improving the regulation of the international trade in conventional arms;
– Prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion; for the purpose of:
– Contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability;
– Reducing human suffering;
– Promoting cooperation, transparency and responsible action by States Parties in the international trade in conventional arms, thereby building confidence among States Parties.
Article 2
Scope
1. This Treaty shall apply to all conventional arms within the following categories:
(a) Battle tanks; (b) Armoured combat vehicles; (c) Large-calibre artillery systems; (d) Combat aircraft; (e) Attack helicopters; (f) Warships; (g) Missiles and missile launchers; and (h) Small arms and light weapons.
2. For the purposes of this Treaty, the activities of the international trade comprise export, import, transit, trans-shipment and brokering, hereafter referred to as "transfer".
3. This Treaty shall not apply to the international movement of conventional arms by, or on behalf of, a State Party for its use provided that the conventional arms remain under that State Party's ownership.

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