First Committee - Statement by Iceland
ICELAND, Conventional Weapons
Allow me to start by congratulating you and other members of the Bureau with your election to this very important committee.
Iceland aligned itself with the EU statement delivered earlier today. We would, however, like to make some additional points on the Arms Trade Treaty.
First of all Iceland was disappointed that our negotiations this summer didn´t lead to a consensus document despite the willingness of so many to make difficult compromises. We are, however, not discouraged and feel that we can built on the progress made to meet again and finalize our work.
The Government of Iceland strongly supports the need for an international and legally binding treaty to bring the arms trade under control and will support all efforts to make that happen. There is also a very widespread support among the Icelandic public for such a treaty. We therefore encourage all Member States to support the draft resolution that has been tabled on bringing us back to the negotiation table early next year.
An Arms Trade Treaty is not intended to prevent legal trade in arms, it is intended to regulate it. For Iceland it is imperative that there will be a strong focus on ensuring absolute respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, to prevent arms ending up in the hands of those who will or are like to use them to violate international human rights or humanitarian law.
Furthermore a gender-sensitive approach is crucial due to the relationship between the arms trade and gender based violence. During the negotiations this summer a few delegations expressed some difficulties with using the term gender-based violence and we urge those delegations, when we return to the negotiating table, to let go of their opposition to using this well established and widely used term. The ways in which conventional arms and ammunition facilitate violence against women is a cross-cutting issue that demands progressive actions and strong language in a treaty. It is our obligations to do right by the victims of such violence and ensure that the ATT does, indeed, acknowledge it, address it and try to prevent it.
A strong and robust Arms Trade Treaty must include small arms and light weapons as well as ammunitions. Unlike many weapons, which can be used indefinitely as long as they are supplied with ammunition, ammunitions must be constantly restocked for armed actors to be able to operate. Accordingly, excluding ammunitions from the treaty could cause it to fail to address basic concerns regarding the humanitarian impact of conventional arms proliferation.
Thank you, Mr. Chair