Speaking from New York where she’s attending a number of high-level events associated with the opening of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said that today’s event marking the achievement of the 50 ratifications needed for the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty was another milestone for the international community and a triumph for multilateral diplomacy as the preferred means to resolve the most serious problems confronting the international community.
She elaborated that a global and uniform set of rules to regulate the trade in conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons, will be operational by the end of the year.
The Prime Minister indicated that she was very pleased that among those States that ratified the Treaty this morning were, The Bahamas and St. Lucia, which has now brought the total number of ratifications by CARICOM States to 8, with all 14 having already signed the ATT.
She pledged to continue to advocate for total ratification by all CARICOM Members and the full implementation of the provisions of the instrument. She recalled that the ATT pursuant to Articles 6 and 7 imposes obligations on all States Parties to refuse to transfer or trade in conventional arms if those arms are subject to prohibitions under resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council, or are likely to be used for the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or any other breaches of international humanitarian law or international human rights law.
In this regard, she also advanced that the entry into force of the ATT 90 days after this morning’s landmark event, will assist the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in implementing its obligations under a number of resolutions of the Security Council, including the latest one which was co-sponsored by Trinidad and Tobago yesterday on Foreign Terrorist Fighters, as the effective implementation of the Treaty would prevent the transfer of arms to terrorists.
The Prime Minister also recalled that she has championed the need for the ATT for a number of years, and stated that as early as her first address to the General Assembly in September 2010, she lamented that the diversion of small arms and light weapons from the legal market to the illicit trade was largely responsible for weapons being in the possession of individuals involved in the drug trade, gang violence and other types of criminal activities, and was very optimistic that exporters of arms would put measures in place to prevent the diversion of arms in accordance with their obligations under the ATT.
In committing her government to promote the universality and effective implementation of the ATT, the Prime Minister pledged that Trinidad and Tobago will continue to use political and diplomatic means to secure the location of the Secretariat of the ATT in Port of Spain, as this institution established under Article 18 of the instrument would assist States Parties in exchanging best practices and benefit from other forms of international cooperation to ensure that domestic and international criminals are not readily afforded small arms and light weapons which are the weapons of mass destruction in our region.
September 25, 2014