Canadian Submission on the Arms Trade Treaty

Tasneem Jamal

Letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs from Project Ploughshares and partners

16 May 2007

The Honourable Peter MacKay
Minister of Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, On, K1A 0G2
Fax: (613) 992-2337

RE: Canadian submission on the Arms Trade Treaty

Dear Minister MacKay,

On behalf of our respective Canadian organizations that are committed to ending irresponsible weapons trade, we want to commend Canada’s recent submission to the United Nations Secretary-General regarding the feasibility, scope and parameters of an international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

We are particularly pleased that the Canadian submission:

1) Called for near term negotiations of a comprehensive legally-binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of all conventional arms;

2) Emphasized the need for such standards to be based on current treaty obligations of states and customary international legal standards, including compliance with UN arms embargoes, commitments under international humanitarian and human rights law, and the promotion of regional stability and sustainable development; and

3) Affirmed the principles proposed by the Arms Trade Treaty Steering Committee, an international group of non-governmental organizations, as a useful framework for negotiations of core global principles for an ATT.

As you well know, the international promotion of an ATT has been a collaborative process between civil society and states. The progress to date has required both the active participation of people across the globe and the political leadership of countries such as Canada. Bringing negotiations to a successful completion will require the continued commitment of both civil society and states. In the near term, Canada could assist by encouraging Commonwealth and La Francophonie states that have not already done so to make submissions to the UN Secretary-General in support of an ATT. Canada can also seek to participate in the UN Group of Governmental Experts that will study the feasibility and detail of an ATT.

We are ready to continue our collaboration with governments on this important UN process and look forward to future opportunities to work with Canada in support of negotiations to achieve a widely-supported and comprehensive international Arms Trade Treaty.

Yours faithfully,

Pierre Véronneau
Executive Director

Robert Fox
Executive Director
Oxfam Canada

John Siebert
Executive Director
Project Ploughshares

André Paradis
Directeur général,
Amnistie internationale, Section canadienne francophone
Hon. Josée Verner, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages

David M. Edwards, Senior Policy Advisor (Conventional Weapons), Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division.

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