General Debate – Diplomatic Conference in relation with the Treaty on Arms Trade
(New York, July 10, 2012)
Statement by Ambassador Miguel Camilo Ruiz, Deputy Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations
First of all, allow me to congratulate you on your election as President of this historic Diplomatic Conference. You have shown great commitment and leadership throughout the process towards the adoption of an Arms Trade Treaty. We are confident that your efforts along with the commitment of Member States will allow the negotiation for the robust Treaty that we want.
I would also like to congratulate the members of the Chair that will be accompanying you in this important process. We know that their experience will be of fundamental importance for the success of the Conference.
Furthermore, I would like to reiterate the total commitment of my delegation in the work ahead. We are confident that a flexible and constructive spirit is the one guiding us during these four weeks of work.
Colombia associates itself with the statement made by Mexico on behalf of the ATT Group of Friends.
As we have expressed it during the Fourth Preparatory Committee of the Conference, our goal is to achieve a robust Treaty that allows the adoption of the highest international standards, to prevent the deviation of weapons to the illicit market and contributes to the efforts of States to the elimination of armed violence and conflicts. This means a Treaty that assures an open, transparent and controlled arms' trade.
As we have stated before, for Colombia it is very important the inclusion of small arms and light weapons, ammunitions, munitions and explosives in the Arms Trade Treaty, since these types of weapons cause the death of thousands of innocent persons throughout the world.
My country believes that the negotiation of the Treaty must be based on the principle of shared responsibility between all the parties involved in the transfer during the cycle of life of a weapon: from the time of its manufacture to its destruction. We insist that the definition of conventional arms included in the Treaty must be flexible to allow the addition of new technological developments that may occur in the arms industry in the future.
Similarly, it is of vital importance that the Treaty to establishes that transactions of conventional weapons may only take place between States, as well as that no exception for any type of conventional arms is made, since all conventional arms are likely to be used for illicit activities,
Colombia considers of high importance implementing the principle of non-discrimination, in order to avoid the use of the Treaty as a tool to veto the transfer of arms between States for political reasons, and also to comply with one of the fundamental rights of States, as provided for in the United Nations Charter: the right of acquiring weapons for self-defense.
In order that this principle has application, Colombia considers that a dispute settlement mechanism must be implemented, creating a procedure through which the exporting country informs the importing country - before making a final decision - about its decision and gives it a reasonable time to provide information to resolve the legitimate doubts that the exporter may have.
Similarly, Colombia, as a measure to prevent the deviation of weapons, has expressed its support to establishing a mechanism for information exchange through which exporting countries notify to the states involved the details of the transit and final destination of all weapons sold. In this regard, and as a measure of confidence building, exporting countries should notify the imports control offices of the transit and recipient countries about information on licenses granted and permissions denied.
The delegation of Colombia considers it very important that the Treaty includes provisions stating that all weapons covered by the Treaty, as well as their parts and components, must be marked at the time of their manufacture. All of the marking information, as well as the related to transfers, should be processed in a database for an efficient tracking mechanism.
We have highlighted the importance of the mandatory presentation of national reports. However, these must obey the principle of rationality, taking into account the large number of reports that States must submit under other disarmament instruments.
Colombia agrees with other States in the need of establishing effective mechanisms for international cooperation and assistance. In this regard, Colombia considers that cooperation must not be limited to financial assistance, but also refer to the exchange of information, experiences and good practices, as well as the transfer of technology.
Likewise, Colombia considers of paramount importance the establishment of an active and flexible mechanism that allows to respond to the States' needs and to strengthen their national capacities.
Finally, I would like to highlight the importance of establishing a Support Unit for the Treaty´s Implementation that is given clear functions and the funding of which is consistent with each State party's financial capabilities.
Allow me, Mr. President, to conclude by reaffirming my country´s commitment to this negotiation and its readiness to work for the achievement of a treaty that effectively contributes to international peace and security.