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The poorly regulated global trade in arms and ammunition weakens the ability and willingness of governments to sustain progress in development. It fuels and exacerbates conflicts and armed violence, diverting resources away from poverty reduction activities. Development gains are lost as communities are paralysed: schools are closed, health systems are strained to breaking point, investment is discouraged, and security is undermined. Through a strong focus on development, the Arms Trade Treaty can help prevent serious impediments to development, consolidate regional initiatives to safeguard development, and strengthen national capacity to become ‘treaty-compliant’. With just weeks to go before diplomats meet at the United Nations, ‘Armed Robbery’ makes the case that a specific criteria on development as part of the Arms Trade Treaty, alongside other criteria on human rights and international humanitarian law, is one of the best ways to ensure that arms sales do not have a negative impact on socio-economic development.

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