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Tánaiste welcomes ratification of Arms Trade Treaty to halt weapon sales


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD, has welcomed Ireland’s ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is designed to stem the flow of weapons to conflict zones.

Speaking ahead of today’s ratification ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Tánaiste said:

“The Arms Trade Treaty is a significant step towards regulating the international arms trade. Once it is fully and effectively implemented, it will save lives by stopping the sale of weapons to conflict zones."

“The Treaty prohibits a State from allowing arms exports where it has knowledge that the weapons will be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, or other war crimes. It also obliges States to minimise the risk that weapons will be diverted into the wrong hands or to the illicit market, and to consider whether the arms being transferred could be used in gender-based violence.”

Ireland will ratify the Treaty today along with 16 other EU countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

To support the goals of the ATT, the Tánaiste also announced a contribution of €150,000 to the UN Trust Fund established to help states to meet their obligations under the Treaty.

The Tánaiste said: “Ireland remains committed to ensuring that irresponsible trade in weapons, which destabilises states and contributes to violence and conflict, is stopped. The Arms Trade Treaty is an important tool in achieving this.

“It is vital to ensure that as many states as possible are able to implement the rules laid down in the Treaty. With this donation, Ireland is offering practical support to states which are working towards ratification.”



Press Office

2 April 2014


Note to Editors:


  • The ratification ceremony will take place at 15.00 Irish time, 10.00 New York time.
  • The UN General Assembly adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty on 2 April 2013, after a seven-year effort.
  • The Treaty has been signed by 118 countries – including by Minister Costello on behalf of Ireland in June 2013 – and ratified by 31 of those. Ireland’s ratification is timed to mark the first anniversary of the adoption of the Treaty. It will enter into force ninety days after the fiftieth ratification.
  • The countries ratifying today along with Ireland are Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and El Salvador.
  • The Treaty introduces objective standards and criteria governing the hitherto unregulated international trade in conventional weapons. It covers the major categories of conventional arms, including the small arms and light weapons which proliferate in countries with low-level conflicts, armed violence and very high civilian casualties. The provisions on prohibitions and exports are applied also to ammunition, parts and components.
  • A joint Press Communiqué by the EU Member States involved is included below.



Joint Press Communiqué by


Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom


on the occasion of the deposit of their instruments of ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty


New York, 2nd April 2014


One year ago, on 2nd April 2013, the United Nations General Assembly voted by an overwhelming majority to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). This was the culmination of seven years of efforts to achieve a comprehensive Treaty setting the highest possible common international standards for effectively regulating the international trade in conventional arms. The Treaty embodies the commitment of the United Nations and its Member States to human rights and international humanitarian law, and to the fight against the irresponsible and illicit trade in conventional arms and their diversion.

By globally regulating the international trade in arms, Nations demonstrate their common responsibility to save lives, reduce human suffering and make the world a safer place for all. This Treaty will fill a significant gap in international law and enhance accountability and responsibility in the international arms trade.

Our first task is to push for its early entry into force: we commend those States that have acted swiftly and have already deposited their instruments of ratification. Today, as we mark the first anniversary of the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty, we, a group of European Union Member States comprising Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom, alongside the nation of El Salvador have jointly deposited our instruments of ratification. Other EU Member States are currently in the process of finalizing their national procedures for ratification and will soon add their names to this list of countries.

Only nine months after this important Treaty was opened for signature, our ratifications mean that we are over half way to the fifty ratifications required for the entry into force.. With our joint deposit, we send a strong signal that we – countries that fought for the Treaty - will spare no efforts to achieve the Treaty’s early entry into force. We are confident that entry into force towards the end of this year 2014 is well within reach.

We strongly advocate universal adherence to and full implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty. We stand ready to assist others in setting up or improving their respective transfer control systems, for example through the dedicated EU-ATT Outreach.

The Arms Trade Treaty is the remarkable result of a long process of cross-regional cooperation between States, and civil society, with NGOs playing a significant role in this process. The Arms Trade Treaty can only make a real difference if it is properly implemented. We will continue to work with all partners to ensure the Treaty’s full and effective implementation at global level.

We must now work together to seize the historic opportunity offered by the Arms Trade Treaty. We owe it to future generations to make this Treaty a success. We reiterate our firm commitment to save lives, reduce human suffering and make the world a safer place.