Include gender-based violence in the Arms Trade Treaty

WILPF has launched a campaign to include a legally binding provision on preventing armed gender-based violence in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).


The widespread availability of weapons has been a main concern for WILPF since its origin. Currently, no legally-binding international standards exist for the export and import of conventional weapons. The weapons industry is a lucrative business that benefits from the lack of international regulations and transparency. Since 2006, WILPF has been working towards a strong international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) through Reaching Critical Will. Our goal is to establish an international tool that will reduce human suffering caused by the arms trade.

As with all weapons-related issues, there is a gender dimension to the arms trade. Women are often disproportionately affected by armed gender-based violence. Thus we are calling for a specific criterion in the treaty to require states not to authorize an international transfer of conventional arms where there is a substantial risk that the arms under consideration are likely to be used to perpetrate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence. See our policy paper on including gender-based violence in the ATT for more details.

The second negotiating conference on the ATT will take place at the UN Headquarters in New York from 18–28 March 2013. WILPF and its partners are working hard to ensure that the final treaty includes binding provisions to address armed gender-based violence. On our campaign page, you can find background material, position papers, and analyses, alongside suggestions for what you can do.

Reaching Critical Will, WILPF’s disarmament programme, will monitor the negotiation conference and provide analyses and advocacy. As with the four preparatory committees and the first negotiating conference, RCW will be posting statements and documents online and will coordinate, edit, and publish a daily newsletter, the ATT Monitor. You can subscribe to receive the ATT Monitor each day during the negotiations.