Every day, thousands of people are killed, injured or forced to flee their homes because of violence and armed conflict.
The majority of casualties in armed conflict are civilians. Weapons such as missiles destroy hospitals, homes, markets and transport systems, pushing survivors into poverty. For every person who is killed in armed conflict and armed violence, many more are injured, tortured, abused, or kidnapped at gun point.
Amnesty International calls on governments to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, create or amend national laws to reflect the rules of the treaty, and implement those laws effectively.
Our Arms Control Work
Canada and the arms trade
Canada was one of dozens of states which voted in favour of the treaty, but then did not take any steps to make that commitment real.
However, in its current form, the legislation introduced to Parliament in April 2017 to ready Canada for accession will not meet critical obligations of the Agreement. The proposed ammendments fails to apply the deal to the majority of Canada’s arms exports. Read Bill C-47 and Canadian Accession to the Arms Trade Treaty: Civil Society Concerns and Recommendations to learn more.
Once a champion of arms control, the Canadian government stayed in the background throughout the treaty negotiation process and remains non-committal about signing the ATT. Among the excuses given is a need to consult Canadians to ensure that implementation of the treaty does not interfere with lawful, domestic gun ownership – an issue which they know full well to be outside the bounds of the ATT, which focuses on international trade. Canada also contended that current export controls are already strong enough.
It’s time for Canada to finally join the Arms Trade Treaty, and encourage other states to do the same.
The global arms trade treaty
A global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) became international law on 24 December 2014. The ATT means that every state that has signed-up must now obey strict rules on international arms transfers. This will at last help to stem the flow of weapons that fuel bloody conflicts, atrocities and state repression around the world.
It’s rare to get a direct win that will help save thousands of lives, but after relentless lobbying and campaigning since the early-1990s, Amnesty and its partners have done exactly that.
The Treaty’s rules are simple – if a country knows that the arms about to be sold will be used for genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes, then they must stop the transfer.The work doesn’t not stop here. The ATT gives us crucial ground rules for the global arms trade. Now we must make sure that it is strictly put into action and more states get on board.
Facts about the arms trade
78% of the world’s weapons are from six countries: China, France, Germany, Russia, UK and USA.
12 billion bullets are produced every year – that’s almost enough to kill everyone in the world twice
875 million firearms in the world right now.