Thousands suffer daily from impact of poorly regulated arms trade while governments quibble over UN procedures
In the time that procedural talks have taken place this week, an estimated ten thousand people will have lost their lives to armed violence according to the Control Arms Coalition, an international movement of NGOs. Progress toward the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which will be the first global treaty to control the international arms trade, was nearly derailed over disagreement about decision making and civil society access.
Diplomats were meeting for a week of talks in New York ahead of the negotiating conference in July, when the ATT will be finalized. The main sticking point has between those countries who interpret consensus as giving every country the right to veto the end result, and those who interpret it to mean broad agreement amongst a large majority. Delegates lost time during much of the last two days behind closed doors in intense negotiations where a deal was brokered.
“As we have seen in the case of Syria, veto power leads to inaction and hampers the ability of the international community to prevent conflict. The will of the majority here who want to see the arms trade brought under control must not be thwarted by a minority set on delaying and confusing the process. Countries who were especially supportive of the veto included Syria, Cuba, Iran and the United States,” said Jeff Abramson of Control Arms.
“It is essential in July, when the final negotiations take place that diplomatic games are not played. Lives and livelihoods continue to be destroyed by an arms trade that is out of control, and the majority of governments that want to see a truly “bulletproof” treaty must not be blocked by a small minority with vested interests,” stated Mr. Abramson.
The Control Arms Coalition is a global movement of humanitarian, human rights and health organizations campaigns for a legally-binding treaty that that will stop transfers of arms and ammunitions that fuel conflict, poverty and serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.