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Challenging the arms trade


Above all else, weapons are tools of violence and repression by those that use them and tools of financial gain by those who make and sell them. Every year, thousands of people are killed, injured, raped, exploited, or forced to flee from their homes as a result of the poorly regulated and irresponsible global arms trade. This trade continues to make our world a poorer, less democratic, more corrupt, and less safe place.

WILPF has highlighted this problem throughout our 100 year history and leads a movement that emphasises the links between arms production, the arms trade, military expenditure, violent conflict, and the reduction of available resources for social and economic development and the promotion of gender equality.

We have some international tools designed to help prevent human suffering from the arms trade. After a seven year process at the United Nations, the treaty text was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013. The ATT is the first ever legally-binding regime that recognises the link between gender-based violence and the international arms trade. In addition, the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons provides the framework for activities to counter the illicit trade in SALW. It was adopted by all UN member states in 2001. By-products of the UNPoA include the International Tracing Instrument and the recommendations of a Group of Governmental Experts on arms brokering.

However much more work is needed. Reaching Critical Will leads WILPF's research and advocacy on the arms trade and related use of weapons and war profiteering, working with WILPF National Sections and other partners.

Relevant publications

Arms trade and explosive weapons

trading-arms-bombing-towns-coverTrading arms, bombing towns

This briefing paper looks at the lethal connection between the international arms trade and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and makes recommendations to governments and others on policy and practice.

 

WILPF CESCR report UK

Explosive weapons, arms transfers, and the right to health, education, and adequate housing

Together with WILPF's Human Rights programme, Reaching Critical Will prepared three briefs to the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights on the transfer of weapons from France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Yemen.

Arms trade and gender

Gender-based violence and the Arms Trade TreatyCover GBV_ATT-brief

This briefing paper aims to provide some background on the terminology around GBV and to highlight questions that will be relevant for risk assessments under article 6 and 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty.

 

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Preventing gender-based violence through arms control: tools and guidelines to implement the Arms Trade Treaty and UN Programme of Work

This report provides tools and guidelines for effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons provisions related to gender-based violence.
 

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The Swedish arms trade and risk assessment: does a feminist foreign policy make a difference

This case study provides a brief overview of the Swedish arms industry and trade focusing on national law and policy, including in relation to preventing gender-based violence.
  

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The Spanish arms trade and risk assessment

This case study provides an overview of the Spanish arms industry and trade focusing on national law and policy, including in relation to preventing gender-based violence. 

 
 

women-weapons-war-coverWomen, weapons, and war: a gendered critique of multilateral instruments

This publication considers synergies—and contradictions—related to gender and women in a number of multilateral resolutions, treaties, and commitments on conventional weapons and women's rights and participation. Among others it looks at the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

Preventing gender-based violence through effective Arms Trade Treaty implementation

This briefing paper provides tools and guidelines for effective implementation of the gender provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty. It is a summary companion to our comprehensive report on preventing gender-based violence through arms control.


Small arms

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Small arms, big picture

Ahead of the UN General Assembly First Committee, Reaching Critical Will and Instituto Sou da Paz have published a briefing paper examining the relationship between small arms and armed violence reduction.

 

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An assessment of the PoA

This briefing paper, written by Daniel Mack of Instituto Sou da Paz, explores some of the key challenges facing the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons and highlights opportunities and options for addressing small arms issues more effectively.

Articles

Human rights body calls on UK to review its arms exports, 6 July 2016

Bloodshed in Syria: wherefrom the weapons? 25 January 2016

The war economy and gender-based violence, 26 November 2015

Do not fuel the fire: no arms transfers to Ukraine or opposition forces, 10 February 2015

WILPF calls on UK to end its role in Israel’s humanitarian law violations, 7 August 2014

Other Reaching Critical Will materials and publications