Actor Djimon Hounsou sees firsthand why we need a strong Arms Trade Treaty

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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