UN urges governments to close ‘loopholes’ on international gun trade
New York – Governments are meeting in New York this week to forge agreement on an international treaty to regulate the international trade in weapons.
The United Nations is seeking a binding treaty that closes current loopholes in the international framework for controlling the trade in arms.
"Guns fuel conflict, violence and high levels of crime in dozens of countries,” the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark said today, prior to the opening of the conference on the Arms Trade Treaty.
“We would like to see a treaty which controls this trade and eliminates the potential for loopholes. It should cover all types of international arms transfers, including loans, leases, gifts and transfers that stem from defence cooperation agreements,” Helen Clark said.“This is not just about controlling the illegal trade, but also about preventing so-called legal transfers to governments who will likely misuse them.”
Helen Clark also pointed out that the proposed treaty will not regulate the domestic arms trade and the way a country controls the possession of weapons by its own citizens.
The UN wants States that sign the proposed Arms Trade Treaty, to regulate the trade in all conventional weapons, including small arms, gun parts and ammunition, as well as to refrain from authorizing arms transfers if there is a substantial risk that the weapons will be used to violate international humanitarian law and human rights.
This week’s conference is the second time that nations have met in New York to negotiate the treaty. The negotiations pick up from July 2012, when an agreement could not be reached.
A 2011 report from the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, calledThe Global Burden of Armed Violence, found that armed violence kills more than half a million people every year. In part, it is easy access to guns that fuels this violence.
Forty-one million people were displaced by conflict and violence by the end of 2011 alone. The cost of providing shelter, food, water and other basic necessities to these people runs into billions of dollars every year says the report.