March 2024

Telling the story of working to develop a common view of corporate responsibility in the arms trade

QUNO’S Peace & Disarmament programme based in Geneva recently participated in the George Washington International Law Review Symposium, “A world under fire: examining the global impact of gun trafficking and violence”.

Florence Foster, the programme’s Representative, outlined how QUNO has worked at the United Nations (UN), with multilateral organisations, government delegations and non-governmental organisations to achieve change in international standards and practice on arms control – with a particular focus on corporate responsibility in the arms sector. 

Foster told the story of how - alongside stellar women mainly - QUNO went about trying on the one hand to ensure States have a clearer understanding of their duties as licensors of arms transfers, including duties to regulate a responsible industry; and on the other to ensure the private sector’s corresponding responsibilities were spoken about. 

Working through the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms to develop a clear normative grounding over several years, QUNO then brought the conversation back to the Arms Trade Treaty. There is now a prerogative to more adequately address Human Rights Due Diligence as a whole within the Treaty, and in particular to address the duties of States to regulate the private sector in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and with that the corresponding responsibilities of business vis a vis human rights.

Read Foster’s full intervention in the document below.

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