Seychelles joins the Global Fight against Illicit Arms Trade
On 31st January 2016, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) officially came into effect for Seychelles. The treaty, which seeks to prevent and eradicate the illicit global trade of arms, was signed by the Ambassador to the Seychelles Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, Mrs. Marie-Louise Potter in June 2013, with Seychelles being amongst the first countries to sign. The ATT was later ratified in November 2015, following necessary consultation processes and approval by the Cabinet of Ministers and the National Assembly.
The ATT was adopted in New York in April 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly, guided by its principles to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security. The treaty provides for cooperation and national control between member states in relation to the transfers – that is exports, imports and transits -of all conventional arms, their raw materials, and byproducts.
These include, but are not restricted to small arms and light weapons, missiles, combat aircrafts, warships and battle tanks. Under the treaty, a state reserves the right, amongst others, not to authorize the transfer of any above mentioned items if it has knowledge that such would be used to undermine peace and security, or facilitate serious violations of human rights or humanitarian law, such as the commission of genocide or crimes against civilians.
Becoming a party to the ATT is a resounding demonstration of Seychelles’ efforts in promoting and upholding human rights, as well as the country’s inherent empathy for lives lost and unsolicited destruction happening across the globe as a result of inhumane acts facilitated by the illicit global trade in arms. Seychelles has been in the forefront of this issue especially with regards to its continuing fight against piracy in the region.
The Arms Trade Treaty is a step forward in alleviating human suffering by establishing the highest international standards in regulating the trade of arms – an aim that the Government of Seychelles is committed to.