Key Developments in Humanitarian Disarmament: A New Feature

As happens every October, government officials and advocates have made their way to New York for the annual UN meeting on disarmament and international security issues. To mark the opening of discussions, this website is instituting a new feature—a monthly overview of key developments in the humanitarian disarmament. While not intended to be comprehensive, it will highlight recent news, events, and publications across issue areas and campaigns.

Wreath-laying at Memorial to Unknown Civilian at Vienna Conference on Protecting Civilians in Urban Warfare, October 1, 2019.
Credit: Eugenie Berger|BMEIA, 2019

In case you missed it:

  • At the 9th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, held from September 2-4, progress toward full treaty implementation was reported in several areas: 3 signatory states ratified the convention in the past year, bringing the number of states parties to 106; 35 out of 40 states parties have now completed stockpile destruction; about one third of states parties with victims have national plans and/or allocated national resources for victim assistance; and 22 states parties have provided international assistance to other states parties. In advance of the meeting, the Cluster Munition Monitor released its annual report and a new infographic documenting these and other developments.
  • Canada formally joined the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on September 17 after its national legislative and regulatory prerequisites to accession came into effect. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump reiterated in a speech at the United Nations that the United States would never join the ATT under his presidency.
  • The UK international trade secretary admitted on September 26 that the United Kingdom has breached the Court of Appeals order banning the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia at least three times since the order was issued in June 2019. The Court of Appeals had ruled in the case that the United Kingdom must assess the risk that exported weapons would be used in ways that might violate international humanitarian law. The case is under appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons now has 79 signatories and 32 states parties. Ecuador, Bangladesh, Kiribati, Laos, the Maldives, and Trinidad and Tobago ratified the treaty on Septembers 25 and 26, while Botswana, Dominica, Grenada, Lesotho, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tanzania, and Zambia, along with the Maldives and Trinidad and Tobago signed onto the treaty. This means that the treaty is 64 percent of the way towards entering into force (50 ratifications or accessions are needed). 
  • Reaching Critical Will has published a Briefing Book which provides background on topics that will be discussed at the UN General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in October and November.
  • More than 130 countries participated in a conference on protecting civilians in urban warfare, held in Vienna from October 1-2. The meeting set the stage for negotiations of a new political declaration to address the civilian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
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