What is the Arms
Trade Treaty?

The Arms Trade Treaty is an international agreement on how weapons and ammunition can be traded between countries. It requires countries not to transfer weapons if there is an overriding risk of human rights violations.

Incredibly, the arms trade was globally unregulated before the historic day in 2013. With over 1,500 people killed each day from armed violence, stopping the flow of weapons to human rights abusers was long overdue.

The treaty entered into force on 24 December 2014. There are a total of 130 countries who have signed onto the treaty however only 87 have ratified it.

Infographic for the Arms Trade Treaty
Infographic of the Arms Trade Treaty © Amnesty International

Our Contribution

Back in 1993, four individuals from non-governmental organisations gathered in Amnesty International’s office in London and began working on ideas to legally end arms trading that contributes to human rights abuses.

For over twenty years Amnesty supporters from across the globe campaigned tirelessly to properly regulate arms trading  – millions of petition signatures and letters, thousands of public demonstrations and countless hours speaking to politicians.

It was your donations that allowed our team of campaigners and lobbyists to be there in New York, ensuring the combined voice of millions of Amnesty supporters around the world was heard.

It was the letters you wrote, the friends you told about our campaign, the demonstrations and meetings you attended throughout our twenty years of campaigning – and the emails you send right into the last 48 hours of negotiations, which helped strengthen the final Treaty text.

And it was your vocal support on Twitter that carried us through the final twists and turns of the conference into the UN General Assembly vote.

It was thanks too to our partners in the Control Arms coalition, and to the Australian Government and MPs who answered your call and fought for a Treaty we can all be proud of.

Thanks to You

Thanks to you, people’s lives have been protected

You are the reason we are able to stand here today and celebrate an achievement that, two decades ago, we only just dared to believe was possible.

Thanks to you, thousands of lives are being protected each year.

Former child soldier and rapper Emmanuel Jal shows his support for our Arms Trade Treaty, holding a 'No arms for atrocities' sign © Andy Merry/ Amnesty International
Former child soldier and rapper Emmanuel Jal shows his support for our Arms Trade Treaty, holding a ‘No arms for atrocities’ sign © Andy Merry/ Amnesty International

Want to do more to protect human rights?

Check out our current campaigns and find out how you can get involved!