“Campaigners around the world have been fighting for this moment for years. This treaty is not just a piece of paper. If robustly implemented, it has the potential to save lives and protect vulnerable civilians,” Hardy stated.
She added that the treaty would alter the way arms business is handled and would bring about a uniform stance on arms being sold to regimes that renege on human rights.
The Arms Trade Treaty, which entered into force on Wednesday, regulates the international trade of conventional arms, including tanks, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, warships, missiles, as well as small arms. The treaty aims to fight against the illegal trade of weapons sold or purchased in order to destabilize international and regional peace and security.
Also on Wednesday, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, said that the treaty would need the support of the entire international community in order to be effective.
"The entry into force today of the Arms Trade Treaty, adopted in April 2013 by the UN General Assembly, is a landmark in the international security agenda…The Treaty now needs to gain universal applicability in order to be truly effective. It also needs to be fully implemented," Mogherini said.
Mogherini added that states that have not yet joined the treaty will be encouraged to do so, noting that all of the EU member states have already signed the document.
The treaty was first negotiated back in 2012. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly with 154 votes against 23 in 2013. Major arms producers, including Russia and China, have abstained from voting.