The trading of bananas is restricted; the trading of firewood is restricted as is the trading of dinosaur bones. However, the trading of weapons is not. Every day 1,500 people die as a result of the lack of regulation on weapons. They get into the hands of corrupt governments and dictators who use them to kill their own citizens. The weapons are also used to forcefully arm, abduct and recruit child soldiers in 19 countries.
At this point it would be easy to think that the problem lies in the developing nations. However, the UK government has one of the highest export rates for arms around the world. In 2008 the UK gave crowd control vehicles and ammunition to Egypt, and has given licenses for arms and security exports to Syria and Zimbabwe, countries which have poor human rights records. Such exporting from the UK facilitates the injuries and deaths that are unnecessarily occurring.
But, change is taking place. Since 2006 153 UN member countries voted to develop a Global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). This aims to establish common standards on the import, export and transfer of arms. The treaty is now in its last stages of development with the final agreements being made in New York for the next four weeks. If it achieves what it hopes to then this could be one of the most significant changes in human rights history.
It appears that one of the main challenges will be deciding the extent that the treaty should take. China, India and Pakistan want to leave out small arms and machine guns, and the USA want to leave out the regulation of bullets. If any of these suggestions were implemented the ATT would have severe loopholes allowing the irresponsible and poorly regulated Arms Trade to continue.
This worldwide problem needs a worldwide solution and hopefully a robust treaty will go
a long way to providing that. To ensure that pressure is kept on the UK government and for other organizations to support a bulletproof treaty sign this petition.
Lives innocently, unnecessarily gone.
The Arms Trade cannot go on.