A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
In early March, Oxfam ambassador Djimon Hounsou visited a cattle camp in South Sudan, where many communities are suffering from the consequences of the unregulated flow of arms and ammunition.
I just came back from an emotional trip through South Sudan, a country that’s still struggling to find peace after more than 50 years of war. I visited herding communities, like the one above, where the number of cattle owned by a family defines its social status and wealth.
While cattle-raiding has been going on for generations, spears have been replaced with guns, and the violence increases season after season. I was shocked to see young boys carrying AK-47s.
Today, in New York, the UN starts to discuss the international Arms Trade Treaty. I’ve seen firsthand the horrifying results of unregulated weapons. It’s time for us to take a firm stance against this, to begin to put an end to the violence.
A strong treaty is the foundation we need to make sure weapons and ammunition are not transferred to places where the weapons will be used to stall development or violate human rights.
Photos: Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin
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Ask President Obama to support a strong Arms Trade Treaty that will make the world a safer place.