The coalition notes that more than 500,000 people are killed by armed violence every year and predicted that “history will be made” when many U.N. members sign the treaty, which it says is designed “to protect millions living in daily fear of armed violence and at risk of rape, assault, displacement and death.”
Many violence-wracked countries, including Congo and South Sudan, are also expected to sign. The coalition said their signature — and ratification — will make it more difficult for illicit arms to cross borders.
The treaty covers battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons.
It prohibits states that ratify it from transferring conventional weapons if they violate arms embargoes or if they promote acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.
The treaty also prohibits the export of conventional arms if they could be used in attacks on civilians or civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals.
In addition, the treaty requires countries to take measures to prevent the diversion of conventional weapons to the illicit market.
This is among the provisions that gun-rights supporters in Congress are concerned about.