GUE/NGL MEPs have welcomed the result of a vote today in Parliament's international trade committee which saw MEPs give their consent to the UN Arms Trade Treaty, the first-ever international Treaty regulating the export, import, and transfer of conventional arms ranging from battle tanks to ammunitions.

MEPs voted unanimously in favour of authorising member states to ratify the Treaty, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly back in April 2013.

GUE/NGL MEP and shadow rapporteur on the file Helmut Scholz commented: “In voting through this report the International Trade Committee has recommended the EP to give consent to the Treaty, as well as its position on member state ratification and implementation. This is overall a positive result as the Treaty must not only be signed up to but adhered to.”

Scholz, who is also Chair of Parliament's Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) group, added: “I am pleased that my attempt to include a reference in the EP position paper on the effect the arms trade has on developing countries in terms of corruption and state debt was successful. It is also crucial that this Treaty is not an end in itself, it must be the first step towards worldwide regulation of the arms trade.”

GUE/NGL MEP Paul Murphy said: “The Arms Trade Treaty sets common international standards preventing human rights abusers from being supplied with arms. The campaign for this Treaty is over two decades old, so it is high time that we see real results, particularly when we remember that every minute someone dies from armed violence around the world, which is clearly linked to the out-of-control global arms trade. The EU accounts for 26% of these global arms exports.”

Murphy continued: “For far too long EU member states have assisted in the arming of brutal dictatorships from Saudi Arabia to Sri Lanka. This happened despite the EU´s Common Positions on arms exports which are simply ignored. It is therefore important that the Arms Trade Treaty is properly enforced and not simply a piece of paper.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
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