The widespread availability of weapons has been a main concern for WILPF since our origin. Through WILPF’s disarmament programme Reaching Critical Will (RCW), WILPF has since 2006 actively been working towards a strong international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) with an extra focus on prohibiting a weapons transfer when there is a risk for them to be used to conduct gender based violence.
On the 2 April 2013 the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the ATT, which prohibits the sale of arms if there is a risk that the weapons could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law. The treaty was adopted with the result 154-3-23 (yes-no-abstain). Thanks to WILPF and our partner organisations the treaty is the first ever treaty that recognizes the link between gender-based violence and the international arms trade.
Read RCW press releases for more info:
Governments fail to agree on an Arms Trade Treaty – again
UN members states adopt first ever Arms Trade Treaty
WILPF’s work on the ATT
WILPF ran the campaign “Make it Binding” during the ATT process to make the prevention of gender-based violence legally binding in the treaty.
In advance of the ATT negotiations in July 2012, we teamed up with Amnesty International, the International Action Network Against Small Arms (IANSA), Oxfam International, Global Action to Prevent War, and Religions for Peace to advocate for the inclusion of specific criteria in the ATT, which should prevent arms export in cases where armed gender-based violence is likely to occur.
Throughout the process, WILPF pushed for recognition of the link between weapons and gender-based violence. With the final text of the treaty, WILPF’s calls have been respected. The strengthening of the criterion of preventing gender-based violence was supported by over 100 delegations, a historic number of states.
On this page, you can find background material, position papers and analyses, alongside suggestions for what you can do to ensure that Arms Trade never facilitates gender-based violence.
Reaching Critical Will monitored the negotiation conferences and on their website you can find official statements and documents from the conferences on and also their daily newsletter, the ATT Monitor.