Marking the first anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all States that have not yet done so to sign and/or ratify the instrument without delay to facilitate its entry into force.
The treaty, adopted by the UN General Assembly last April, for the first time sets global standards for the transfer of weapons and efforts to prevent their diversion.
It regulates all conventional arms within the categories of battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers and small arms and light weapons.
Among other provisions, the treaty - which will enter into force once it receives 50 ratifications - also includes a prohibition on the transfer of arms which would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity and certain war crimes.
"As we mark today's milestone, the Secretary-General is deeply concerned that civilians continue to be killed or maimed in targeted or indiscriminate attacks with weapons that should not have reached the hands of the perpetrators," said a statement issued by his spokesperson.
Mr. Ban called on States, civil society, and international and regional organizations to continue working together to ensure that the treaty can play its full role in helping to reduce needless human suffering and build a safer world for all.
The UN chief is "heartened" that 118 States have signed the treaty, and welcomed the deposit today of instruments of ratification by 18 Member States, which brings the number of deposited ratifications to 31.
Noting that this will generate further momentum towards the 50 ratifications needed for the treaty's entry into force, the Secretary-General called on all States that have not yet done so to sign and/or ratify without delay.