Arms Trade

Gun_pyre_in_Uhuru_Gardens2C_Nairobi
Credit: Frederick Onyango, 2007

Poor regulation of the global arms trade has led to the death, injury, and rape of countless individuals. It has also fueled violence, exacerbated poverty, displaced communities, and caused human rights abuses. The Control Arms Coalition was formed in 2003 to advocate for better regulation of the licit arms trade, an important first step to reducing illicit trade. It helped pressure the UN General Assembly to initiate the negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty, which was adopted in 2013. The treaty regulates the transfer of conventional arms ranging from small arms and light weapons to tanks, combat aircraft, and warships. It obliges states parties to assess the risks of proposed arms exports and not to authorize transfers if the risks cannot be mitigated. The treaty expressly prohibits transfers of arms that a state party knows would be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and serious human rights violations.