Arms Trade Treaty to set up secretariat in Geneva

Bern, 27.08.2015 - The first conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) meeting in CancĂșn has chosen Geneva as the site of its future permanent secretariat. The body will be responsible for regulating the trade in arms and preventing illegal sales.

"Switzerland will provide support in establishing the new secretariat in Geneva and will actively work to implement the treaty. We also welcome the clarifications made to the decision-making procedures which should help avoid obstacles and enable progress", said Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter on Thursday, after having made his statement on Monday during the opening of the conference.

The treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013 establishing for the first time global standards regulating the trade in conventional weapons. It has been signed by 130 states, 72 of which have ratified the treaty. The secretariat is scheduled to be set up by the end of the year and will bolster Geneva's focus on promoting security and disarmament.

States parties that have ratified the treaty undertake to introduce a national control system and carry out their obligations on a uniform and non-discriminatory basis. In so doing, the ATT contributes to combating the illegal trade in conventional arms, which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Each state party is now obliged to assess prior to any transaction (import, export, transit, brokering) whether the weapons being sold might be used to circumvent an international embargo or violate human rights, or indeed risk falling into the hands of criminal networks.

Address for enquiries

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs