Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dookeran signs landmark Arms Trade Treaty at UN (with video)

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran signs the ATT at the UN in NY Monday.  On his left is Ms Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, Chief of Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations and on his extreme left is Angela Kane, UN High-Level Representative for Disarmament Affairs
Click this link for Minister Dookeran's statement to UN television
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran on Monday signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that was approved by the world body in April and opened for signatures on Monday. 

More than 60 states signed the treaty, which establishes common international standards for the movement across borders of conventional arms and ammunition. Signing is only the first stage. It requires ratification by 50 states to become effective.

Those joining T&T in signing included the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Australia, Finland, New Zealand and Brazil. Russia, China, India and the United States did not sign. However, the United States advised that it would do so at a later date.

Dookeran indicated that Trinidad and Tobago is interested in formally making a bid to house the Secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty. 

Trinidad and Tobago played a pivotal role on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is making the treaty a reality. 

Dookeran noted that in his address at the UN Monday. "It is with a tremendous sense of pride that I am here this morning to sign the Arms Trade Treaty, or ATT as it is better known, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

"I am especially honoured because of the role played by my own country, and the Caribbean Community ("CARICOM"), in the negotiations and conclusion of this landmark Treaty which establishes common international standards for the transfer or trade in conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons and their ammunition.

"This is a landmark achievement for Trinidad and Tobago and the world and it has come at a time when our country has embarked on a policy of engagement in its diplomatic affairs," the minister stated.

"Mere days ago we had visits from US Vice President Joseph Biden and also the President of China His Excellency Xi Jinping.

"During Vice President Biden’s stay, decisions were taken to expand the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative to deal more effectively with the very significant security challenges facing CARICOM and the Dominican Republic.

"These include: the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Border Security, Crime Management, Counter Terrorism and Criminal Deportation.
"Today, States which sign the ATT are openly demonstrating their intention to be bound by an agreement which enhances transparency in the trade in arms. It also establishes norms to prevent the diversion of conventional weapons from the legal to the illicit market.

"It is this diversion, Mr. President, which is at the heart of the illegal trade in small arms in the Caribbean.

"It was our Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar who underscored the fact that our weapons of mass destruction are, in reality, the guns and ammunition which end up in the hands of our criminals.

"Prior to the adoption of the Treaty, there were no legally binding international mechanisms which provided for open and frank dialogue between those countries affected by the flow of arms and the suppliers of these commodities.

"Trinidad and Tobago is satisfied that the Treaty provides for an Assembly of States Parties where issues relating to the breach of treaty obligations by recalcitrant States can be addressed.

"While Trinidad and Tobago is elated to be part of this signing ceremony, we are not oblivious of the fact that, for the ATT to have any meaning, it must not only be signed but also be implemented in the domestic laws of Member States.

"Trinidad and Tobago has begun the process of ratification of the Treaty and expects to be among the first fifty (50) States to permit the ATT to become operational.

"We are also examining our laws to ensure that they are compatible with the provisions of the agreement.

"We are satisfied that the ATT has established a Secretariat to assist States Parties with capacity building initiatives and other matters necessary for the fully and effective implementation of their obligations which flow from the Instrument.

"The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is convinced that we have the capacity and resources to host the Secretariat and in this regard Trinidad and Tobago today declares its interest in formally making a bid to house the Secretariat.

"We will be embarking on a campaign to secure the support of the global community to ensure that we are successful in this endeavour and we count on the support of all States gathered here today.

Member States, we are certain that our challenges go beyond small arms and light weapons, but clearly this Treaty will assist us in a number of areas such as counter terrorism, the drug trade, money laundering, human trafficking, border security and criminal deportation.

"It is, therefore, our expectation that this Treaty will add immeasurably to regional security architecture throughout CARICOM and beyond.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai