Ghana fully backs proposed UN Arms Trade Treaty

Ghana has given its full support to the proposed treaty on arms trade by the United Nations (UN).

In view of this, Ghana’s President John Atta Mills in his speech at the 66th UN General Assembly in New York called for a legally-binding UN treaty on arms trade that would help stem the flow of arms to destinations where they could fuel conflict or undermine national and regional peace.

“Mr. President, another issue that we continue to follow with keen interest is the proposed Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Ghana fully supports the attainment of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), hence our satisfaction, thus far, with the outcomes of the ATT Preparatory Committee meetings held in New York in July, 2010 and February-March, 2011,” President Mills told the General Assembly September 23, 2011.

He adds “As a nation, we consider a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) an indispensable step in preventing the flow of conventional arms to destinations where they are likely to wreak havoc and mayhem by either fueling conflict and undermining both national and regional peace, security and development or exacerbating tensions that in many instances could likely create the conditions that necessitate the deployment of international peacekeepers in the first place.”

President Mills explains that in developing countries such as Ghana, illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and other conventional weaponry continues to pose a threat to national security and socio-economic and political stability, given the former’s close linkage to terrorism, organized crime, drugs and human trafficking, among others.

“It is, therefore, imperative that the remaining ATT Preparatory Committee meetings come out with proposals towards a future arms trade treaty that closes any loopholes that allow conventional weapons to flow from legitimate to illicit markets.”

According to the UN, the preparatory committee was created after the General Assembly in 2006 requested the Secretary-General to establish a group of governmental experts to look into “the feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.”

President Mills also re-affirmed Ghana’s continues commitment in contributing personnel to UN peacekeeping missions.
He urged donor countries to ensure that troop contributing countries received the financial support needed in a timely manner.

By Ekow Quandzie

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