- 29 Aug 2019
- [International Secretariat]
- Topic: Arms Trade Treaty
Even though the Arms Trade Treaty has been in place for nearly five years, global arms trading is still on the rise. As world leaders meet in Geneva to discuss the treaty, we must remind them that there is still work to do.
After more than 20 years of campaigning by Amnesty International and partner NGOs in the Control Arms Coalition, the UN General Assembly voted decisively to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) text in April 2013. The treaty entered into force on 24 December 2014.
The ATT is a global treaty that sets out, for the first time, prohibitions to stop the international transfer between states of weapons, munitions and related items when it is known they would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes. Every year, an assessment is conducted to analyze the ‘overriding’ risk that potential arms exports could contribute to serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
However, despite their commitment to regulating irresponsible arms trade, many key states parties continue to sell arms to governments that commit serious human rights abuses.
Here are some killer facts about the global arms trade, based on data collected by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (), , and .
Global spending on arms
- SIPRI estimates that the total value of the global arms trade in 2017 was at least
- The top 100 arms companies made an estimated worth of sales in 2017.
- US accounted for of world military spending in 2018
Global exports and imports of major conventional weapons
- The US is by far the world’s biggest exporter of arms. Between 2014-2018 Saudi Arabia was the main recipient, accounting for of US exports.
- The volume of international arms transfers has grown steadily since 2003, to reach its highest level since the end of the Cold War.
- The five largest arms exporters in 2014–18 were the US, Russia, France, Germany and China. Together these countries accounted for of global exports.
- The five largest arms importers in this period were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and Algeria. Together they accounted for of total arms imports.
The Top 5
these were the top clients of the top 5 exporters:
- US: Saudi Arabia (22% of total exports), Australia (7.7%), UAE (6.7%)
- Russia: India (27%), China (14%), Algeria (14%)
- France: Egypt (28%), India (9.8%) Saudi Arabia (7.4%)
- Germany: South Korea (19%) Greece (10%) Israel (8.3%)
- China: Pakistan (37%), Bangladesh (16%), Algeria (11%)
Transfers to the Middle East
- The flow of arms to the Middle East grew by between 2009–13 and 2014–18.
- of US arms exports went to the Middle East in 2014–18.
- In 2014–18 of British arms exports went to the Middle East. The vast bulk of this was deliveries of combat aircraft to Saudi Arabia and Oman.
- During 2014- 2018 Saudi Arabia became The US and UK are by far the largest suppliers.
- Saudi Arabian arms imports rose by between 2013-17
- Between 2014–18, armoured vehicles were delivered to Saudi Arabia from Austria, Canada, France, Georgia, South Africa and Turkey, and 338 tanks were delivered from the USA.
Small Arms and Light Weapons
- The Small Arms Survey that there are in the world, the vast majority of which are in civilian hands.
- There are about 21 firearms for every 100 residents in the United States, 53 in Yemen, 39 in Montenegro and Serbia, and 35 in Canada and Uruguay.
- In 2017, Venezuela and El Salvador of violent deaths by firearm.
- The Small Arms Survey that within a 50 year period, world production of military assault rifles, carbines, pistols, and light and heavy machine guns would range between 36 million and 46 million units.
The human cost
- 2,436,351 people have died in armed conflicts since 1989 – with over 77320 in 2018 – .
- 2017 saw a dramatic increase in the number of violent deaths worldwide, with people losing their lives violently. The heaviest burden of increased lethal armed violence affected South and Central America and the Caribbean.
23 August 2019
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE