Madam High Representative,
Ladies and gentlemen,
In today’s globalized world, all areas of world trade, from cars to agricultural products, are subject to regulations. Only one area escaped them: the arms trade.
The lack of arms trade regulation has devastating consequences: armed violence now kills almost half a million people every year. Most of these victims are innocent civilians. This scourge also has repercussions for the development of states, and respect for human rights.
The vote by the General Assembly on April 2 aimed to address this deficiency.
For the first time in history, the international community has a comprehensive treaty to regulate the arms trade that will strengthen international peace and security. It puts international humanitarian law and international human rights law at the heart of the criteria which states undertake to respect before any decision to transfer arms. It will help to more effectively combat the illicit spread of conventional weapons around the world and thus combat terrorism and organized crime.
The UN has proved that it was up to the challenge of realizing the effective multilateralism that we’re calling for. In this respect, France would like to pay tribute to Mr. Peter Woolcott and to his predecessor, Mr. Roberto Garcia Moritan, who guided the work of the two successive conferences.
Ladies and gentlemen,
France, which is one of the leading exporters of weapons, had a particular responsibility in this area. It played an active role in the negotiations and demonstrated resolute commitment, commensurate with our goals and those of our European partners.
I also commend the quality of the cooperation with the non-governmental organizations, which initiated the mobilization in support of this treaty; throughout this process their commitment has been unfailing and their work effective.
Today, we are signing the Arms Trade Treaty, but our efforts won’t stop there. This treaty must enter into force as swiftly as possible. Only through its universalization will we be able to make this treaty truly effective. France therefore calls on all countries to swiftly sign and ratify this treaty.
Universalization: this is the challenge ahead of us now and we must lend it our full support – governments, as well as civil society and industry. It’s an ambitious goal, but we have a duty to continue to carry the torch, on behalf of the anonymous victims, and for the benefit of future generations. Thank you.
Learn more on the Arms Trade Treaty