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Statement by Minister Erkki Tuomioja, UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, 18 March 2013, New York - Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN : Current Affairs

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Speeches, 3/18/2013

UN CONFERENCE ON THE ARMS TRADE TREATY, STATEMENT BY MR. ERKKI TUOMIOJA, MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF FINLAND, 18 MARCH 2013, NEW YORK

Mr. President,

Last July we made significant progress in the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty here in New York. We came very close to agreeing - however, some countries indicated that they needed more time. Now, we are back in the Conference Hall and have a new and final opportunity to negotiate the Treaty at the United Nations. We should use this opportunity and show willingness in order to arrive at a conclusion.

For Finland the draft that we have in front of us would have been acceptable as a compromise already last July. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement towards a treaty with the highest possible international standards that can add value to the present global arms trade - a treaty that a majority of countries can accept and implement.

We need to regulate global arms trade with a legally binding and universal treaty. We cannot but underline the global importance of this Treaty.

Mr. President,

There are a number of improvements that we would like to see in the draft text. However, during the next few days we will concentrate only on a few major ones.  

We would like to have as comprehensive scope for the Treaty as possible, including ammunition. Ammunition is one of the core issues in the ATT and should be treated as such. The present formulations seem inadequate and should be improved and strengthened.

Important provisions on human rights and international humanitarian law should form clear criteria on how to assess transfers and denials of transfers, if there are substantial risks. Also provisions on issues such as diversion of weapons to illicit markets and armed violence, including gender based violence, should be strengthened. These are major problems in many parts of the world, which cause human suffering.

It is important that the ATT is in line with other international and contractual obligations. We have to avoid creating loopholes that could hamper effective implementation of the treaty.

One of the important goals of the treaty is to bring more transparency to global arms trade. This can be achieved with mandatory reporting and by making the reports public.

The treaty should become universal - as many states as possible should become parties to it. We would like to see incentives to this effect to be included in the text. Technical and financial assistance are ways to assist countries that might struggle with the ratification and implementation of the treaty.

Not only member states but also regional integration organizations can contribute to the ATT in different ways. Therefore, it is important that the treaty is open for their ratification.

I appeal to all delegations that all of us would be prepared to make compromises and find the political will to agree on the Arms Trade Treaty. We owe it to ourselves and to the victims of armed conflicts and human rights violations, suffering from unregulated arms trade. It is high time we concluded the ATT.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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Updated 3/18/2013


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