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Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Blogs

Arms Trade Treaty— a step forward by Yusur’s World – A better world is possible

Arms Trade Treaty— a step forward

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The Arms Trade Treaty is the name of a potential multilateral treaty that would regulate the international trade in conventional weapons. Those are weapons ranging from warships and battle tanks to fighter jets and machine guns. Being aware and supportive of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) open statement at the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 57), I am also supporting the Arms Trade Treaty and I think that it is a step forward in abolishing the war.

 

To fully understand the issue, I attended the meeting “The Arms Trade Treaty: expectations for the endgame” on March 6. Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations Relations organized the meeting in cooperation with Office of Disarmament affairs. The meeting was very important for me and there are many insights to share.

The United Nations Conference on Arms Trade Treaty was held on 2-27 July 2012 in New York. No treaty text was produced. The United Nations Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty will take place on 18-28 March (a week from now). The conference will build on the work done in July 2012.

 

Having this treaty agreed upon by state members is very crucial. Senior Political Affairs Officer in the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) Antonio Emanuel Evora said: “The General Assembly has no patience on this and wants the treaty to be concluded now.” I was very pleased to hear that. Currently, there is no international regulation on arms.  Having such treaty will be a revolutionary action to eliminate war. According to Evora, not all states are enthusiastic about the treaty. Being said, it is obvious that the largest arms exporters and their trade partners are putting obstacles in the treaty’s path.

 

In conflict zones the vulnerable individuals are the ones who are most brutally affected. In most cases, those are women and children. The Director of Amnesty International’s representative office at the United Nations in New York Jose Luis Diaz said that women are greatly affected in places where unregulated arms trade exists. He also mentioned some of the biggest exporters and importers of arms. For instance, United States is one of the biggest exporters of arms and Saudi Arabia is considered to be one of the importers of arms. Many of the arms imported used in crackdown against dissidents and peaceful protestors such as in Bahrain. Being one of the largest exporters of arms, it seems that United States has a problematic position on ammunitions. Diaz explained Amnesty Internationals position and its stand. He said that Amnesty International mandates that the Arms Trade Treaty must also include the transfer of arms (not only trade).

 

When weapons are in the wrong hands, human rights violations become a norm. All of us know this fact, however we should not forget that the biggest arms exporters are Western countries. Therefore, I see that the only solution to pass this treaty is to urge governments and petition them for regulation. Today, trading bananas is more regulated than the arms trade. This is shocking, but we can all take action to change the situation. This will be our first step in the path of abolishing war and thus, saving lives of many women who are at risk in conflict zones.

 

Posted on Saturday, March 9 2013.