The Arms Trade Treaty: Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Prospects for Arms Embargoes on Human Rights Violators
61 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2009 Last revised: 12 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 10, 2010
Advocates of the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) promise that it will prevent the flow of arms to human rights violators. This Article first examines the ATT, and observes that the ATT, if implemented as promised, would require dozens of additional arms embargoes, including embargoes on much of Africa. The Article then provides case studies of the current supply of arms to the dictatorship in Zimbabwe and to the warlords in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Article argues that the ATT would do nothing to remediate the conditions which have allowed so many arms to be acquired by human rights violators. The ATT would have no more effective force than the embargoes that are already imposed by the UN Security Council; therefore states, including China, which violate current Security Council embargoes could just as well violate ATT embargoes. Accordingly, the ATT is a distraction, and human rights activists should instead examine alternative methods of addressing the problem of arms in the hands of human rights violators.
Keywords: Arms Trade Treaty, Embargo, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Small Arms, Firearms, Human Rights
JEL Classification: F10, F14, H56, K33, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation