US and Zimbabwe were the only countries to vote against the Arms Treaty


Control Arms campaign demands urgent move to end the carnage

On Friday 31st October, 147 states voted overwhelmingly at the United Nations to move forward with work on an Arms Trade Treaty. This is an increase on the 139 states which voted to start the UN process in October 2006, showing increasing global support for the treaty. Support was particularly strong in Africa, South and Central America and Europe indicating high demand for global arms controls, both from countries severely affected by armed violence and from major arms exporters. Only the US and Zimbabwe voted against, ignoring growing global consensus on an ATT.

The Control Arms campaign, which represents millions of people around the world welcomes the vote but continues to call for more urgency from states to advance the process quickly and ensure a strong Treaty with human rights and development at its heart.

Every day, over 1000 people are killed directly with firearms and many thousands more die indirectly as a consequence of armed violence, or are driven from their homes, forced off their land, raped, tortured or maimed. Since the UN process started in December 2006, approximately 695,000 people have been killed directly with firearms, illustrating the urgent need for an Arms Trade Treaty. Any further delay means more lost lives.

Brian Wood from Amnesty International said:

This big vote today moves the world closer to an Arms Trade Treaty with respect for human rights at its heart, the only way such a treaty can really stop the carnage. Today’s decision is that the principles of the UN Charter and other state obligations must be considered central to the Treaty. It is shameful that the US and Zimbabwe governments have taken an unprincipled stand today against a Treaty that would save so many lives and livelihoods.

Anna Macdonald from Oxfam International, said:

Most governments now support an Arms Trade Treaty and they must now move forward with urgency. Today’s vote is one step closer to turning off the running tap of irresponsible arms transfers which have flooded the world’s conflict zones for decades, fueling death, injury and poverty, such as is happening now in DRC. However we need leaps forward not steps, as every day lost means hundreds more lives lost.

Mark Marge from the International Action Network on Small Arms said:

This vote is a victory for the millions of campaigners in countries around the world. But we cannot afford to rest. All those against the misuse of arms will continue to pressure their governments to move quickly to implement a strong, legally binding treaty.

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