Minister Holmås speaks with members of Norway's delegation to the arms trade talks. From left, Terje Hauge, Gro Nystuen, Mr. Holmås and Anders Dalaaker. 
Photo: Norway UN Mission.Minister Holmås speaks with members of Norway's delegation to the arms trade talks. From left, Terje Hauge, Gro Nystuen, Mr. Holmås and Anders Dalaaker. Photo: Norway UN Mission

Need for robust regulations on arms trade

7/3/2012 // We have a common responsibility to come up with a strong and legally binding Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). That was the message from Norway’s Minister of International Development at the start of the month long negotiations taking place at the UN in New York. The goal is a deal that has leads to real change by limiting the human suffering caued by armed violence.

The talks were initially delayed because of a disagreement on representation at the talks which centered on whether the Palestinians could participate with full voting and speaking rights.

In the opening remarks, Norway pledged to play an active role in all aspects of the negotiations on an arms trade treaty. Mr. Holmås stressed that an agreement should address gender-based violence and take the victims perspectives in to account. The goal must be to prevent arms transfers that contribute to human suffering. We need a humanitarian treaty. Mr. Holmås also said that it’s important that a treaty includes small arms, light weapons and ammunition.

Before holding his speech, the Minister met with representatives of several civil society organisations, including Oxfam, Forum for Environment and Development and the Norwegian Peace Association, to hear their perspectives on the arms trade treaty talks.

Earlier UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the lack of an arms trade agreement “a disgrace”. These weapons impact the lives of millions. One person dies every minute – 2000 people every day. The unregulated trade in weapons empowers terrorists and criminal networks. Getting an arms trade treaty within this month is an ambitious target, but doable, Ban said.


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