Challenging the arms trade
Above all else, weapons are tools of violence and repression by those that use them and tools of financial gain by those who make and sell them. Every year, thousands of people are killed, injured, raped, exploited, or forced to flee from their homes as a result of the poorly regulated and irresponsible global arms trade. This trade continues to make our world a poorer, less democratic, more corrupt, and less safe place.
WILPF has highlighted this problem throughout our 100 year history and leads a movement that emphasises the links between arms production, the arms trade, military expenditure, violent conflict, and the reduction of available resources for social and economic development and the promotion of gender equality.
We have some international tools designed to help prevent human suffering from the arms trade. After a seven year process at the United Nations, the treaty text was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013. The ATT is the first ever legally-binding regime that recognises the link between gender-based violence and the international arms trade. In addition, the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons provides the framework for activities to counter the illicit trade in SALW. It was adopted by all UN member states in 2001. By-products of the UNPoA include the International Tracing Instrument and the recommendations of a Group of Governmental Experts on arms brokering.
However much more work is needed. Reaching Critical Will leads WILPF's research and advocacy on the arms trade and related use of weapons and war profiteering, working with WILPF National Sections and other partners.
Arms trade and explosive weapons
This briefing paper looks at the lethal connection between the international arms trade and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and makes recommendations to governments and others on policy and practice.
Together with WILPF's Human Rights programme, Reaching Critical Will prepared three briefs to the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights on the transfer of weapons from France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Yemen.
Arms trade and gender
This briefing paper aims to provide some background on the terminology around GBV and to highlight questions that will be relevant for risk assessments under article 6 and 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty.
This report provides tools and guidelines for effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons provisions related to gender-based violence.
This case study provides a brief overview of the Swedish arms industry and trade focusing on national law and policy, including in relation to preventing gender-based violence.
This case study provides an overview of the Spanish arms industry and trade focusing on national law and policy, including in relation to preventing gender-based violence.
This publication considers synergies—and contradictions—related to gender and women in a number of multilateral resolutions, treaties, and commitments on conventional weapons and women's rights and participation. Among others it looks at the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
Ahead of the UN General Assembly First Committee, Reaching Critical Will and Instituto Sou da Paz have published a briefing paper examining the relationship between small arms and armed violence reduction.
This briefing paper, written by Daniel Mack of Instituto Sou da Paz, explores some of the key challenges facing the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons and highlights opportunities and options for addressing small arms issues more effectively.
Bloodshed in Syria: wherefrom the weapons? 25 January 2016
The war economy and gender-based violence, 26 November 2015
Do not fuel the fire: no arms transfers to Ukraine or opposition forces, 10 February 2015
Other Reaching Critical Will materials and publications