The Arms Trade Treaty

The groundbreaking 2013 Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is a critical international agreement that regulates transfers of a large range of small arms and light weapons. More than 100 countries are parties to this treaty, which has had a significant impact on the international arms trade. In particular, the ATT bans states parties from allowing arms exports if there is a high chance the arms will be used to perpetrate serious human rights abuses.

Anna Crowe, Assistant Director of the International Human Rights Clinic, works collaboratively with Control Arms and the Stimson Center on improving ATT compliance and implementation.

Under the ATT, export officials must undertake a human rights “due diligence” exercise: when export officials are deciding whether to allow a proposed arms export to another country to go ahead, they must assess the export’s likely human rights consequences and block the export if the arms could be used to commit or facilitate serious human rights violations. Export officials must also specifically take into account the risk of the arms being used “to commit or facilitate serious acts of gender-based violence [GBV] or serious acts of violence against women and children.”  The treaty also contains a number of other important provisions aimed at reducing arms-related human suffering and curbing the trade in illicit weapons.

Crowe and various clinical teams have developed training materials, interpretive guidance, and case studies to help officials work through each stage of the due diligence exercise, as well as comply with other parts of the ATT.

As part of this work, Crowe has traveled with clinical students to Latvia and Namibia to deliver regional trainings to government officials on ATT compliance and international human rights law.

Expert: Anna Crowe

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