International arms treaty comes into force

A landmark treaty regulating the $85 billion global arms trade came into force on 25 December 2014, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon saying it will help prevent transfer of weapons to terrorists and human rights abusers and asked major arms exporters and importers to join the pact.

The Arms Trade Treaty, adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013, is the first legally-binding multilateral agreement that prohibits nations from exporting conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons would be used for genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

As of 23 December, 60 nations had ratified the treaty and 130 had signed it, indicating that they intended to ratify.

India is among the 23 nations that had abstained from voting on the treaty resolution in 2013, saying the draft treaty annexed to the resolution is “weak on terrorism and non-State actors” and these concerns find no mention in the specific prohibitions of the treaty.

Top arms exporters that have signed and ratified the treaty include Britain, France and Germany. USA signed the treaty in September 2013 but the Senate has not ratified it.

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