Gender-based violence and the Arms Trade Treaty: reflections from a campaigning and legal perspective

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The Arms Trade Treaty, the first treaty to regulate the international transfer of conventional arms and ammunition, was adopted in 2013 at the United Nations. It aims to regulate the flow of weapons around the world by requiring governments to assess all arms transfers against a set of criteria, before the transfer is authorised or denied. The agreed criteria include language on the risks of gender-based violence. This is a landmark provision, and shows that the issues of women, peace and security have successfully moved into the realm of mainstream security. This article explores how this happened, and the lessons campaigners can learn from this campaign success. The article also explores what the implications are for progress on reducing gender-based violence in conflict, and the areas of uncertainty as attention turns to the treaty’s implementation. This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.