Control Arms campaigners from around the world gathered this morning in front of the United Nations in Geneva to draw attention to the human suffering caused by armed violence in many places from Yemen and Honduras to Papua New Guinea and South Sudan.
They urged delegates attending the third Conference of States Parties for the Arms Trade Treaty (CSP2017) to remember that the Treaty’s main goal is to reduce human suffering. This message was reinforced by a postcard from Radhya al-Mutawakel, a human rights defender form Yemen, delivered to CSP 2017 delegates as they arrived to the Conference venue. The postcard highlighted both the beauty and the destruction of Yemen and called for a halt of all arms transfers to the warring parties.
Control Arms also hosted a press conference at the United Nations, where representatives of Amnesty International, Oxfam and the Mwatana Organization for Human Rights briefed journalists about expectations for the coming CSP, the ATT’s linkages with the Sustainable Development Agenda. Radhya al-Mutawakel spoke about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and highlighted the Treaty’s essential role in reducing human suffering in Yemen and around the world. [Press Release]
The third Conference of States Parties, chaired by Amb. Klaus Korhonen of Finland, began today with a High Level segment, and saw speeches by foreign ministers of Finland and Switzerland, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, the President of the ICRC, and Radhya al-Mutawakel, who represented civil society.
“You may not know much about the civilian victims or what is happening to the Yemenis enduring the daily onslaught of war,” Radhya told delegates from more than 100 countries. ‘Sadly, many ordinary Yemenis have come to know of your countries through the weapons that have destroyed their homes and killed their families. On behalf of Control Arms, my organisation Mwatana, and civilians suffering everywhere through the world, I call upon you as States Parties and Signatories to the ATT to remember that the purpose of the ATT is to reduce human suffering.”
These comments were strongly supported by Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC, who said in his remarks: “Failing to control the supply chain of arms is putting a dirt-cheap price on the lives of civilians. There is an urgent need to turn words into deeds, to prevent the irreparable harm caused when weapons fall into the wrong hands.”