THE Legislative Assembly of Tonga will host a two day Regional Parliamentary Workshop next Monday, from May 18-19 to promote ratification and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in the Pacific.

The two day deliberation is to promote awareness on the Arms Trade Treaty and also to identify hurdles, challenges and solutions in terms of moving the ATT ratification/accession and implementation processes forward across the Pacific.

The Arms Trade Treaty is a United Nations treaty regulating the international trade in conventional arms – from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.

Its main objectives are to establish highest possible common standards for regulating or improving the regulation of international trade in conventional arms. It is to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade of conventional arms.

The Arms Trade Treaty also contributes to international and regional peace, security and stability through the reduction of human suffering. And also to promoting cooperation, transparency and responsible action by States Parties in the international trade in conventional arms, thereby building confidence among state parties.

130 countries worldwide have signed the treaty including four island countries of Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Nauru. 63 countries have formally ratified the treaty including New Zealand, Australia and Samoa in the region.

Tonga has yet to sign or ratify the treaty. Therefore the Government of Tonga welcomes this workshop as an ideal opportunity for promoting awareness of ATT, so they could strongly consider whether or not to commit to signing and ratifying of the treaty.

Two relevant pieces of legislation includes the Arms and Ammunition Act and the Arms and Ammunition Regulations, controls the manufacture, possession, carrying, use, import and export of arms in the Kingdom.

Tonga’s delegation to the event are Lord Ma'afu, Dr Pohiva Tuíi'onetoa and Lord Tu’iha'ateiho.

The workshop is kindly supported by the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR).

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