Arms treaty 'must protect human rights'
03 July 2012
European leaders are pushing for a United Nations arms trade treaty to include considerations for the human rights implications of the global weapons industry.
Representatives from over 150 countries are attending a four-week UN conference attempting to draft a legally binding treaty creating basic standards for all arms producing nations to adhere to.
The US reportedly wants wording of the treaty changed so that exporters must only "consider" whether the arms might be used to commit human rights abuses, rather than ban sales if there was a "substantial risk" of abuses.
European arms exporting nations have repeated their call for human rights considerations to be written into the treaty in an article co-authored by Ewa Bjorling, Swedish minister for trade, as well as Laurent Fabius, Guido Westerwelle and William Hague, the French, German and British foreign ministers respectively.
"We believe that states have a right to acquire the means to protect their citizens," the article said. "However, we also believe that states have a responsibility to ensure that arms are not used in a way that is inconsistent with the humanitarian aims of the treaty, or violates international law.
"While many states already operate robust export control systems, the lack of common international standards allows inconsistencies that those who would do harm can exploit. The arms trade treaty should be legally binding, but nationally enforced. This will ensure the global consistency required to make the treaty effective, while maintaining state signatories' right to decide on arms transfers. We believe that an arms trade treaty should cover all types of conventional weapons, notably including small arms and light weapons, all types of munitions, and related technologies. It is also of great importance that the treaty includes strong provisions on human rights, international humanitarian law and sustainable development.
"We also want to see a treaty that seeks to prevent the diversion of arms from the legal market to illicit trafficking networks and curbs the impact of corruption in the arms trade. A strong and comprehensive framework of common international standards is an essential step in reaching this goal."
Kate Allen, UK director of Amnesty International, told PublicServiceEurope.com that those pushing for human rights provisions would "have their work cut out for them".
"This month, no doubt we shall have heated debate and strong opinions expressed at the UN in New York as governments thrash out this historic agreement. But, if delivered effectively, this treaty could lead to not just the 'pause' button being pressed on serious human rights violations being committed - as a result of inappropriate arms transfers - it could actually prevent some of the worst human rights violations being committed, once and for all."
HAVE YOUR SAY
03 July 2012
of course the US wants the wording changed, they wouldn't be able to sell weapons to Israel if the wording is left as is.
Also the same old problem be rear its ugly head, Russia and China will be opposed as they have sales to protect.
with the us, russia and china looking out for themselves and not the victims of said weapon systems the arms treaty is as toothless as the UN!
The trouble is war has been sanitised, banning bullets that cause massive shock and wound injuries etc, that there is no real urge to stop.
Lets be very clear here, politicians don't fight the wars, they only create and prolong them, others do the dying.
(Lets make war so terrifying by allowing any make of weapon to be used on the battlefield, maybe when their own troops start returning home in bits they may think again.)
JC - UK
04 July 2012
Congressional approval of this treaty would be treasonous. The Second Amendment of the Constitution is clear on the civil right to arms without infringement.
Michael Chapdelaine - TruthAlert.net