At the Arms Trade Treaty conference at the UN in New York, delegates have been dragging their feet, playing musical chairs and generally skirting around discussions. With disagreements from the start, the talks are not on track. So, we need States to pick up the pace to ensure that a bulletproof treaty is agreed when the conference closes on July 27th.
We are on the brink of an historic victory in the creation of a worldwide Arms Trade Treaty. Yet, despite our campaigning, a small minority of sceptical countries continue to delay talks and argue for a weak treaty that would have little effect. More than ever before, your voice is urgently needed, to ensure that governments deliver on a strong and comprehensive Treaty.
When it comes to armed violence, the numbers are scary. 12 billion bullets are produced ever year, enough to kill each person on earth twice. Every day 1,500 people are killed in armed violence around the world - 750,000 a year – and that's not counting the thousands more who are injured, raped, or forced to flee from their homes as a result of the unregulated global arms trade. Many of the weapons used in these killings are illegally-traded small arms, yet there are no global rules for the arms trade.
Right now, you can make a difference by targeting two of the most influential players in the negotiations; UK Foreign Minister William Hague and the US President, Barack Obama.
The UK is one country that has come out strongly in support of rigorous criteria to prevent any arms transfers which would violate human rights law, saying the treaty "has the potential to bring real and significant benefits to UN all member states."
But over the last several days, new discussion papers have been released on various aspects of the Treaty, which, while not to be considered as Treaty text, are a strong indication of what the final Treaty will look like when presented very soon. Many of the elements that Control Arms has called for are not in these papers.
If we want a bulletproof treaty, now is the time to speak out for these elements to be reintroduced. And now William Hague must use his influence to bring the talks back on track.
President Obama's negotiating team is sitting down with other UN delegates this week to discuss the final elements of the Arms Trade Treaty – but they are about to take a step in the wrong direction.
Instead of creating a bulletproof treaty that finally regulates the international exchange of arms, the US and other UN delegations could cave in and allow a major loophole that would let states legally supply weapons to war criminals and human rights abusers by citing national security concerns. A loophole like this could open the treaty up to easy exploitation by people in power who support rogue regimes, including those that suppress human rights and prey on their own populations. You can tell Obama to stand up for millions of people who could be affected by armed violence.
A strong Arms Trade Treaty – one that values human rights and prevents arms from getting to human rights abusers in the first place – is a vital part of our ongoing fight against poverty and injustice. Oxfam has been campaigning for international arms regulations for nearly a decade, but it all comes down to what happens at the UN negotiations.
The Control Arms campaign: Join the call for a bullet-proof Arms Trade Treaty