Legally binding Arms Trade Treaty

2012-07-09 06:11

The first global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that would regulate the international arms trade is currently under way at the United Nations General Assembly.

To quote Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who opened the conference: “Our common goal is clear: a robust and legally binding Arms Trade Treaty that will have a real impact on the lives of those millions of people suffering from the consequences of armed conflict, repression and armed violence, it is ambitious, but it is achievable”.

According to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the global trade in conventional weapons – from warships and battle tanks to fighter jets and machine guns – remains poorly regulated. No set of internationally agreed standards exist to ensure that arms are only transferred for appropriate use.

There are more weapons in the world today than during the Cold War and thousands of weapons like nuclear warheads are ready to be launched at a moment’s notice.

Most pro - arms control lobbies like Amnesty International believe there are treaties to regulate many products like bananas, but no global rules and regulation for the trade in products specifically designed to kill and injure human beings, animals and cause massive destruction, pain and suffering.

It is absolutely important that every United Nations (UN) member state support the Arms Trade Treaty in order to save lives, protect communities around the globe and prevent the transfer of weapons to armed groups and terrorists.

Every day, millions of people suffer from the consequences of armed violence. Innocent human beings are being killed, injured, raped, oppressed, forced to flee their homes and gross human right abuses are being committed by terrorist, dictators and criminals due to the unregulated global trade in arms and ammunition. The lack of supervision of the arms trade also fuels illicit trafficking of arms, corruption and poverty and destroys livelihood of people and communities.

This is an excellent initiative to reduce various forms of armed violence and conflict and to improve the safety and security for communities around the world. Every UN member state should oblige and participate in this historic opportunity to create a bullet proof arms trade treaty in order to look after humanity. The treaty should include all types of arm related technologies and armaments, ammunition and equipment. Policies on transparency, accountability, implementation, sale of weapons and most important the protection of life should also be included in the treaty.

Moreover, any serious action on arms manufacturing,  trade, security or proliferation will lack credibility if it’s applied selectively or only imposed on some countries or nations.

We all should do our bit to end the threat that arms, including nuclear weapons, pose to the Earth and its inhabitants.

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