2012-06-29 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) Thousands of campaigners from around the world are calling for clear action to control the trade of arms just days before Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations take place at the United Nations in New York.
In February the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt addressed participants of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on the ATT.
ATT negotiations are due to take place on Monday, July 2 at UN headquarters in New York.
In his address, Archbishop Chullikatt said “With other States and the various actors of the international community, the Holy See shares the view that the principal objective of the Treaty should not be merely the regulation of the conventional arms trade but should be, above all, the disarming of the international illicit market”.
He denounced what he called “An unregulated and non-transparent arms trade due to the absence on the international level of effective monitoring systems (that) causes a series of humanitarian consequences”.
And Mons. Chulikatt concluded that “The Holy See is convinced that the Arms Trade Treaty can provide an important contribution to the promotion of a true culture of peace through responsible cooperation between States, in partnership with the arms industry and in solidarity with civil society. Viewed in this light, current efforts to adopt a strong and effective ATT could represent a meaningful sign of the political will of nations and governments to ensure peace, justice, stability and prosperity in the world.”
The current demonstrations and campaigns are trying to raise public awareness about the need for governments to agree to a strong ATT at the UN negotiations this coming Monday.
Reports on the conflict in Syria, like recent conflicts in Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo, underscore the urgency of common-sense rules on the international transfer of weapons.
Campaigners are calling for a strong Arms Trade Treaty to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of human rights abusers and warlords.
Just days before the negotiations, an international human rights organisation released a report examining the impact of irresponsible supplies and misuse of weapons, munitions and armaments resulting in civilian casualities and thousands of people being displaced.
In the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, the report says the flow of military weapons from China, Sudan and Ukraine has triggered indiscriminate attacks by both the South Sudanese Armed Forces and armed opposition groups, with tragic consequences on South Sudanese civilians.
Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni spoke to Helen Hughes, a researcher at Amnesty International, that has just released the report claiming the continuing supply of weapons to armed militias is causing conflict in South Sudan to continue.