U.N. approves arms trade pact
April 3, 2013 -- Updated 0122 GMT (0922 HKT)
U.N. General Assembly delegate applaud the passage of the first U.N. treaty regulating the international arms trade on Tuesday.
- The Arms Trade Treaty will regulate transfers of heavy weapons and small arms
- Iran, Syria and North Korea voted against the treaty at the United Nations
- The United States and European Union praise the treaty; the NRA opposes it
(CNN) -- The U.N. General Assembly voted to adopt the world body's first treaty to regulate the global arms trade Tuesday, a move Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called "a victory for the world's people."
The Arms Trade Treaty will regulate the transfers of tanks, heavy artillery, combat aircraft, missiles, warships and small arms. Ban said the pact will make it harder for weapons to reach black markets and fall into the hands of "warlords, pirates, terrorists, criminals and their like."
"It will be a powerful new tool in our efforts to prevent grave human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law," he said in a statement on the 154-3 vote. "And it will provide much-needed momentum for other global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts."
Iran, Syria and North Korea were the only votes against the treaty, which will take effect when 50 member states ratify it.
"The international community can claim full ownership of this treaty, which will make trade in conventional arms more responsible and transparent, thus reducing human suffering and tangibly contributing to international peace, security and stability," Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said in a written statement.
And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the pact "can strengthen global security while protecting the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade."
The National Rifle Association, the American gun lobby, has vowed to oppose the treaty's ratification in the U.S. Senate. The NRA says the treaty is "designed to severely restrict or even outright ban the right to sell, purchase, carry or own a firearm in America."
Senators voted 53-46 to attach an anti-treaty amendment authored by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, to the chamber's budget resolution for 2014. But Kerry said the treaty "applies only to international trade, and reaffirms the sovereign right of any state to regulate arms within its territory."
"As the United States has required from the outset of these negotiations, nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment," he said.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Action needs to be taken immediately before affected states potentially collapse, says campaigner Bob Geldof.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Australian PM Tony Abbott vows to "shirt-front" Russia's Putin over the MH17 disaster.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
Public health experts are asking whether the CDC is getting the wrong message out.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1541 GMT (2341 HKT)
It's no longer necessary to launch your startup in Silicon Valley -- thanks to the internet, you can do it anywhere.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0900 GMT (1700 HKT)
From a "democracy wall" to a towering "Umbrella man" statue, see the best art from the massive protests in Hong Kong.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.