UN Conference on Arms Trade Treaty underway in New York
Ambassador Chris Kpodo, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has stated that Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) would help prevent human rights abuses, and protect minority rights and livelihoods of people around the world.
He said Ghana believed that the transfer of conventional arms must not be authorized if there was a substantial risk that those arms would be used in a manner that would aggravate international or regional conflicts and instability.
He said the country was happy to note the goals and objectives necessitating the need for an ATT and affirmed that poorly regulated global trade in conventional arms and ammunition fuels conflicts and also exacerbate poverty and human rights abuses.
Ambassador Kpodo made the statement at the ongoing ATT conference underway in New York that would regulate conventional arms borne more out of the humanitarian concerns that was expected to address and not solely as a disarmament or trade treaty.
He noted that the ATT became necessary due to humanitarian concerns concerning the overwhelming number of people who die every year as a result of the use of Small Arms and Light Weapons,
Ambassador Kpodo indicated that Ghana shared the views expressed by many other delegations that an ATT must respect States rights to Self Defence and law enforcement under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.
He said transfers should not be permitted if it would facilitate the commitment of serious violations of the recipient States obligations under relevant international agreements such as those on prevention of crime, international humanitarian law or international human rights law in support of acts of terrorism and violence, such as gender-based violence, which included rape and other forms of sexual violence.
He stressed that if these categories were not included, it would be difficult to achieve the purposes of the Treaty, which was to ensure safety and security of the people particularly in Africa since the objective of the conference was to regulate and not to prohibit the use of these arms.
“Ghana thus supports the view that the Treaty’s scope should include all tanks; military vehicles; artillery systems; military aircraft and helicopters (manned or unmanned) surface and submarine naval vessels armed or equipped for military use, missiles and missile systems (guided or unguided)” he said.
Ambassador Kpodo said the country supported the view that the Treaty should apply to all international transfers and to the identities of the parties to the transfer, including inter alia states or agents thereof, commercial operations, organized non-state groups or individuals.
He noted that Ghana also supported the call for international assistance in building the capacity of less endowed States and called for cooperation in the fields of information exchange, education and training particularly the preparation of relevant domestic laws and implementation of the treaty to ensure its effectiveness.
“In view of the humanitarian imperatives that gave birth to this treaty, an ATT must therefore provide ‘assistance or support’ for victims of irresponsible arms transfers as a form of reassurance to the victims of irresponsible arms transfers” he added.
The conference would promote transparency and accountability in import, export and transfer of conventional arms, prevent, combat and eliminate the illicit transfer, production, brokering of conventional arms and their diversion into the illicit market including use in trans-national organized crime and terrorism.