The Australian Government will today ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the United Nations.

The Arms Trade Treaty will be the first legally binding instrument ever negotiated in the United Nations to establish common standards for the international transfer of conventional arms.

Illegally traded conventional weapons are one of the world's biggest killers, claiming more than half a million victims every year.

Experience in Australia’s neighbourhood, such as Bougainville in the 1980s and the Solomon Islands in the 1990s shows how destabilising the introduction of even small numbers of illicit weapons can be.

Australia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Gary Quinlan, will formally deposit with the United Nations today, Australia’s instrument of ratification of the ATT at the UN in New York.

Australia’s ratification of the ATT comes one year after we signed the Treaty. One hundred and seventeen other nations have now signed the ATT. The treaty will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it.

Australia is one of the seven co-authors of the original 2006 General Assembly Resolution calling for an Arms Trade Treaty culminating in the ATT’s adoption on 2 April 2013. This major foreign policy achievement for Australia reflects strong recognition of the need to better regulate the conventional arms trade and to reduce the impact of armed violence on communities around the world.

Drawing on our own strong arms export control expertise, Australia will offer practical assistance to help others implement the ATT. This includes a further $1 million to the UN Trust Facility for Supporting Co-operation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR) which we helped establish with a $1 million contribution in 2013.

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