Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

The Netherlands signs UN Arms Trade Treaty

The Netherlands signed the UN Arms Trade Treaty in New York on Monday, June 3. By regulating international trade in conventional weapons, the agreement will contribute to a safer world.

The Treaty will enter into force once it has been ratified by at least 50 countries. ‘Preventing weapons from falling into the wrong hands benefits global peace and security. This Treaty is a major step in that direction. The Netherlands will do its utmost to ratify it without delay,’ said foreign minister Frans Timmermans. ‘I hope that as many countries as possible do the same. This will also be good for the competitiveness of the Dutch defence industry. The Netherlands already has strict export criteria, and countries that become party to the Treaty will have to enact similar measures.’

The Treaty prohibits the export of weapons that can be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or which will likely be used in connection with human rights violations. It also obliges countries to monitor their arms exports and to draw up reports on export licences they have issued. (The Netherlands and other EU countries already fulfil these requirements, on the basis of European arms export policy.)

As one of the vice-chairs of the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, the Netherlands played an active role in the negotiating process. The Netherlands is also contributing €500,000 to a UN fund that will help developing countries set up export monitoring systems for arms and facilitate the safe storage and destruction of small and light arms.