#16 Days: The Arms Trade Treaty and 16 Days of Action to Prevent and Eliminate Gender-based Violence

Photo Credit: From Poverty to Power, Oxfam GB.
Photo Credit: From Poverty to Power, Oxfam GB.

I tried to climb onto a wall but a ‘red beret’ saw me and hit me with his truncheon while another one shot me in the legs. Three of them took me towards the toilets, dragging me along the ground. One of them raped me while another ‘red beret’ pointed his gun at my head….”

Amnesty International, Guinea: They Ripped off my Clothes with Their Knives and Left Me Completely Naked” Voices of Women and Girls Victims of Sexual Violence, February 2010, AFR 29/002/2010

One person dies every minute from armed violence around the world. How many of those are female deaths related to the irresponsible trade and illicit trafficking of weapons? No one knows. But we do know that rates of femicide—acts of homicide in which the victim is a woman or a girl—are significantly higher in countries and territories affected by high or very high overall homicide rates. Firearms play an important role in lethal violence, and the display of firearms—as a means to intimidate, threaten, or coerce someone—is a predictor of their actual use, according to the Small Arms Survey.

In 2013 the 193-nation UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the first and only treaty on regulating the trade in conventional arms ranging from light weapons to jet fighters and warships. Canada was among those who voted in favour of the treaty.

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