Oxfam International Blogs - peace and conflict http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/peace-and-conflict en The push for peace: A greater role for women http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-09-21-push-peace-greater-role-women <div class="field field-name-body"><p>The International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September and is a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. This year's theme is “<a href="http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/" rel="nofollow">Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All</a>” to highlight the importance of all segments of society to work together to strive for peace.</p> <p>Conflicts threaten everyone with devastating consequences – but women and girls face particular impacts, such as sexual violence. However, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/women-peace-and-security-keeping-promise" rel="nofollow">women remain systematically marginalized</a> in efforts at all levels to prevent, resolve and recover from conflict, and their participation in peace and security processes and institutions remains extremely limited.</p> <p>To address this, the UN Security Council adopted the landmark <a href="http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/wps/" rel="nofollow">resolution 1325</a> in 2000. This resolution aimed to uphold women’s rights in conflict and their roles in peace and security.</p> <p>There have been some visible achievements since 2000. Twenty years after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has the highest ratio of female parliamentarians in the world: <a href="http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm" rel="nofollow">64 percent</a>. There are 69 female parliamentarians in Afghanistan (27.7 percent of a total of 249) compared with none in 2001. There are more senior women in UN peacekeeping missions, and more policewomen in countries such as Afghanistan and Somalia.</p> <p><strong>But the impact on women’s lives and their formal role in peace and security worldwide has been sporadic.</strong></p> <p><img alt="Women are marginalized from the peace process." title="Women are marginalized from the peace process." height="676" width="750" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-women-peace-fig-1-wps-with-headline-final_0.png" /></p> <p><em>Women as participants in peace negotiations 1992–2011</em></p> <p><strong>There has been important progress</strong> in women’s participation in UN-supported peace talks. But overall, women represented less than four percent of participants in peace negotiations from 1992 to 2011. An <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp200-behind-doors-afghan-women-rights-241114-summ-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">Oxfam study</a> of 23 known Afghanistan peace talks between 2005 and 2014, for example, found that during talks between the international community and the Taliban, not a single Afghan woman was involved. Women remain excluded even where male-dominated efforts to resolve conflicts have failed for decades.</p> <p>At national and local levels, women’s participation is limited or rendered less meaningful by various factors including poverty, social and economic discrimination and inequality, lack of technical capacity, lack of access to education, threats and acts of violence, political marginalization or manipulation, and tokenism. For example, in the current <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/south-sudan/pushing-peace-south-sudan" rel="nofollow">South Sudan peace process</a>, the women appointed to delegations of opposing factions are seen as representing only their respective leaders rather than the interests of conflict- affected communities. In Somalia, women highlight the risk of sexual violence as a key constraint to their participation in peacebuilding activities.</p> <p>Around the world, transparency and political accountability for the actions of governments is inconsistent, while greater efforts are needed to prevent conflict and gender-based violence.</p> <p>As the world prepares to mark the 15th anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR 1325 in October, the Security Council is conducting a High Level Review on 13 October in New York. This formal review will assess progress and challenges in implementing UNSCR 1325 by the UN and governments.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Shaheen Chughtai on International Day of Peace, 21 September 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Somali women and men discussing gender and livelihoods issues. Photo: WARDI/Oxfam</em></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/women-peace-and-security-keeping-promise" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam report: Women, Peace and Security: Keeping the promise</strong></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/somali-solutions" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam report: Somali Solutions: Creating conditions for a gender-just peace</strong></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/explore/issues/gender-justice" rel="nofollow"><strong>More on Oxfam's work on gender justice</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The push for peace: A greater role for women</h2></div> Mon, 21 Sep 2015 12:37:08 +0000 Shaheen Chughtai 27725 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-09-21-push-peace-greater-role-women#comments Syria: a stain on the conscience of the world http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-03-25-syria-stain-conscience-world <div class="field field-name-body"><h3>Ignored Security Council resolutions, escalating conflict and political inertia: Syria’s suffering civilians deserve better</h3> <p>Enormous numbers have had to flee violence in Syria. People of all political persuasion, ages, religious belief and background. Their views are diverse, and strongly held. One which is commonly expressed, however, is a disappointment with the ineffectiveness of the international community. A <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/failing-syria" rel="nofollow">new report by Oxfam and 20 aid and human rights organizations</a> shows there is good reason for this disillusionment.</p> <p>In the face of a spiralling human catastrophe, in February 2014 the UN Security Council eventually united to pass <a href="http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2014/02/22/full-text-un-security-council-resolution-2139/" rel="nofollow">Resolution 2139</a> that demanded an end to attacks on civilians and for Syrians to be able to access sufficient aid. The resolution, followed by two others later in the year, offered hope to Syrians. Our report shows that they have been largely ignored.</p> <p><strong>In the last year, the humanitarian situation has continued to worsen</strong> and the conflict has escalated.</p> <p><img alt="Syria crisis: humanitarian agencies struggling to reach people in need " title="Syria crisis: humanitarian agencies struggling to reach people in need" height="917" width="1833" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/hard-to-reach-areas.png" /></p> <p>Samah, who fled to find safety for her six children in the caves of surrounding mountains explained: “We are dying from cold, illness and hunger. I would rather be cooking rocks at my home than staying here waiting for an organization to bring me a food basket every once in a while,” said Samah.  </p> <p>More and more people have stories like Samah. Yet, 2014 also saw a drop in aid funding whilst rich countries pledged to resettle just a paltry number of refugees.</p> <p><strong>The political track to tackle this crisis has also stalled</strong>. As Lakhdar Brahimi, the second UN Peace Envoy to Syria to resign, said: there are “plans of war... no peace plans. I don’t see anybody saying “let’s stop fighting and let’s talk””. His replacement, Staffan de Mistura, has an unenviable task, trying to push reluctant parties to freeze the fighting in the city of Aleppo.</p> <h3>So what should be done?</h3> <p><strong>Security Council members can clearly do more</strong>, particularly as the main backers of some of those fighting. They can use their diplomatic, political and financial influence to push for peace talks. They can insist that their demand for an end to violations is heeded, they can stop sending guns, bullets and military support to violators themselves, and they can insist on accountability and justice for the victims.</p> <p>Neighboring countries and regional powers can also deescalate the conflict and implement practical changes to ease the plight of civilians. All governments can demand political action, offer a safe haven to 5 percent of refugees who have fled the violence and fully <a href="http://www.unocha.org/top-stories/all-stories/syria-un-and-partners-launch-major-appeal-2015" rel="nofollow">fund the humanitarian response</a>.</p> <p>And we, as global citizens, campaigners, any people with conscience or humanity, must stand #WithSyria. We can show solidarity with those who are both suffering and striving for a better future, and insist to governments that something has to change.</p> <p><strong>We must all stand <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WithSyria?src=hash" rel="nofollow">#WithSyria</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>This entry posted by Daniel Gorevan (<a href="http://twitter.com/Dgorevan" rel="nofollow">@DGorevan</a>), Oxfam policy advisor on the Syria Crisis and one of the authors of the report “<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-failing-syria-unsc-resolution-120315-en1.pdf" rel="nofollow">Failing Syria</a>”, on 25 March 2014.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="https://www.withsyria.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Stand with Syria now</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Support <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's humanitarian response to the Syria crisis</a></strong></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Download the joint agency report: <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-failing-syria-unsc-resolution-120315-en1.pdf" rel="nofollow">Failing Syria</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Syria: a stain on the conscience of the world</h2></div> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:53:07 +0000 Daniel Gorevan 25733 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-03-25-syria-stain-conscience-world#comments Living through the Gaza airstrikes http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-07-14-gaza-right-now <div class="field field-name-body"><p>People keep asking me how the situation in Gaza is right now, and I don't know how to begin describing it. Scary. Dangerous. Confusing. So many emotions. </p> <p><strong>The airstrikes happen everywhere, anytime, day and night.</strong> At night is the most difficult time. The bombing intensifies and I can feel it getting closer and closer. I'm exhausted but I try and force myself not to fall asleep... the explosions are even scarier when they wake you up.  I prefer to be awake when they strike. </p> <p>It's Ramadan, the holy month, and we should be celebrating. The "Iftar" meal - at sunset to break the day's fasting - is usually a huge family occasion. My brother's and sister's families would join us, or I'd go to the beach with friends. But this year we spend Iftar on our own, with<strong> the sound of explosions and ambulances</strong> in the background, phoning relatives to check they are safe. My nine year old niece - named Arwa after me - calls me first thing every morning for reassurance that things will be ok. People keep saying they will be, but you can tell they aren't sure. I call my friends every day and I'm terrified there will be bad news. </p> <p>During the day we try and work, as much as security allows. Today <strong>Oxfam has been distributing food vouchers</strong> to families who have had to flee their homes. The needs are growing by the hour - a water system for 70,000 people completely destroyed, a health clinic for pregnant women seriously damaged. <strong></strong></p> <p><strong>The violence goes on and civilians are the ones paying <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/18/father-children-gaza-bloodshed-palestinians-israelis" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">the highest price</a></strong>. I speak regularly with Oxfam's partners - engineers assessing the latest damage; hospitals struggling to cope with all the casualties and shortages of fuel; fishermen who have had their boats destroyed.</p> <p><em>Listen to Oxfam's Arwa Mhanna in Gaza on the struggle to observe Ramadan under siege:</em></p> <a href="https://audioboo.fm/boos/2334994-i-hope-everyone-will-be-able-to-spend-the-rest-of-ramadan-in-peace" rel="nofollow">listen to ‘"I hope everyone will be able to spend the rest of Ramadan in peace..."’ on Audioboo</a> <p>// </p> <h3>The news in Gaza is full of death and destruction</h3> <p>Often we're at home and it's too dangerous to go out -<strong> the streets are empty, shops are closed</strong>. Time goes so slowly at home... we are constantly watching the news for updates, full of children being killed and homes destroyed. Sometimes I want to turn the news off and watch something else - a drama, a comedy  - but I feel guilty. It's the World Cup and the cafes are usually full of men watching the<strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/video/2014/football-breaks-down-barriers-between-palestinian-syrian-and-jordanian-youth-refugee-camp" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> football</a></strong> - now it's too dangerous. </p> <p><strong>People in Gaza are very resilient.</strong> This is the third big military crisis we've been through in six years. I think of children like my niece and I don't want them to get used to this. My sister's children are so frightened. A bomb fell next door to their house, smashing all the windows. Fortunately they were sleeping in the living room because it has only one window, so nobody was hurt. Now they don't want to leave her side, even when she goes to the bathroom.</p> <blockquote><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gaza?src=hash" rel="nofollow">#Gaza</a> The last hug from a Palestinian mother in Gaza to her son. <a href="http://t.co/iMs7RPb1lU" rel="nofollow">pic.twitter.com/iMs7RPb1lU</a></p> <p>— Arwa Mhanna (@ArwaMhanna) <a href="https://twitter.com/ArwaMhanna/statuses/489845565942145024" rel="nofollow">July 17, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <h3>Peace and justice for the future of our children</h3> <p>Even in between major military escalations, in the "calm" periods, there are still frequent airstrikes and <strong>the blockade continues to cripple our lives</strong>. It leaves people unable to get jobs, move freely or enjoy a normal life. People in Gaza want to live in peace and justice. We need a<strong> <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/beyond-ceasefire" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">long-term solution for Gaza</a></strong>, to give my niece and others the better future they deserve. </p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Read more about <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/opti" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Read Oxfam's 2012 report: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/beyond-ceasefire" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Beyond Ceasefire: Ending the blockade of Gaza</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Living through the Gaza airstrikes</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/14-07-15-la-gente-dice-que-todo-va-ir-bien-pero-sabes-que-no-tienen-esa-certeza" title="Desde Gaza: &quot;Aterradora. Peligrosa. Confusa&quot;" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/14-07-16-gaza-aujourdhui-peur-danger-et-confusion" title="Gaza aujourd&#039;hui : peur, danger et confusion" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:22:14 +0000 Arwa Mhanna 10724 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-07-14-gaza-right-now#comments A global call for ending the sufferings of Syrians http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-04-04-global-call-ending-sufferings-syrians <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Thousands of Syrians continue to flee conflict every day, seeking safety in neighboring countries.</strong> Thursday 14 March marked the two year anniversary of the start of the crisis in Syria. Oxfam with partners around the region joined efforts to mark this day by organizing a candlelit vigil in different parts in the world. </p> <p>We publish below two messages from Oxfam teams and partners in Egypt and Jordan, about this <strong><a href="http://www.syriavigil.org%20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Global Vigil for Syria</a></strong> and the global call for <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis" target="_blank" title="Crisis in Syria" rel="nofollow">ending the sufferings of Syrians</a></strong>, a call which is more urgent than ever.</p> <h3>Cairo, Egypt</h3> <p><em>Message from Areeg Hegazi, Middle East Policy Adviser, Oxfam in Egypt</em></p> Areeg Hegazi <p>I was working with Gassad Wahed, a group of Egyptian youth working on relief work in a number of countries in the region to organize the vigil.  </p> <p>The vigil was organized in Moustafa Mahmoud Square, one of the busiest squares in Cairo. As we were gathering up, it was interesting to see that young men and women started to gather around us, each coming with something green to be able to recognize each other. Gassad Wahed had printed photos of Syrian people from outside and inside Syria. Some photos had the Syrian flag on it. One interesting photo one of the girls was holding was with two girls playing sea-saw in the middle of the rubble. We stood towards the outer end of the square each holding a photo. The group was a mix of Egyptians and Syrians and other nationalities too. Some came with the Syrian flag. As people were driving, they were slowing to look at the photos was then raising their voice cheering us.  Some were comparing the situation in Syria with Egypt. Others were sending encouragement messages, <strong>“Inshallaah this would be over soon”, “You’ll go back and reconstruct everything again”</strong>.  </p> <p>People on the vigil were interested to support for different reasons, some were very sympathetic with the Syrian people, especially the ones in refugee camps. A lot wanted to influence Arab countries to move and pressure Bashar to step down. Some were criticizing the current relief efforts that it’s not enough. <strong>Most people just wanted an end to the sufferings of Syrians.</strong></p> <p>As it was nearing dawn, we started to light up the candles, some of the young men and women started forming the letters Syria in Arabic on the floor which gave a good nice atmosphere and increased the visibility of the vigil. Just then, the electricity went off and there we were all standing with the candles, this lifted up the spirit of people as many considered it an invisible support for the vigil. <strong>Syrians in the vigil were touched with the numbers of Egyptians</strong> and with the opportunity to mark the anniversary being so far from home. They were very curious about the conditions of refugees in other countries knowing that Oxfam works with the refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. They kept on stressing how they were worried about the Syrians inside Syria and how they want to ensure that organizations and providing the help they need.</p> <p>Speaking with one of the organizers from Gassad Wahed about how <strong>women outnumbered the men in the vigil</strong>, he told me that mobilizing women was much easier because women related much more to the sufferings of women and children especially with the cold winter.</p> <p>One of the Syrian men in the vigil, said that the vigil is important to remind the world even the ones passing by us, about the Syrian crisis, about the people who are dying, leaving their houses, and they need help: "We are confident that the victory will come, we’ve seen it since two years ago, but we just want it to come faster."  </p> <p>A young girl was saying that Egyptians could have easily been in their position, and no one is helping them, I am confident that it’s the people that will help the Syrians and not the governments.</p> <p>I was very happy and proud to have supported in organizing and participating in the vigil. Even though this is a little move and probably won’t help in easing the suffering but sending the message to the World and to the Syrians that in spite of all the difficulties Egypt is passing by, <strong>our hearts are aching for our Syrian brothers and sisters</strong></p> <h3>Mafraq, Jordan</h3> <p></p> <p><em>Message from Stephanie Yousef, ARDD-Legal Aid - Media &amp; Advocacy Manager</em></p> <p>Jordanian human rights organization, <strong><a href="http://ardd-legalaid.org/" target="_blank" title="ardd-legalaid.org" rel="nofollow">ARDD-Legal Aid</a></strong>, hosted a Candlelight Vigil in Mafraq, Jordan on March, 14, 2013 in solidarity with the Syrian people.</p> <p><strong>ARDD-Legal Aid is the first Arab rights-based organization that is dedicated to fighting injustice</strong> through the promotion of human rights, democracy, and inclusive development in Jordan. The Syrian crisis has affected thousands of people and created an influx of refugees into Jordan. In this time of hardship ARDD-Legal Aid stands in solidarity with the Syrian people and works diligently for the voices of the refugees to be heard.</p> <p>March 14 marked the two year anniversary since the start of the crisis, ARDD-Legal Aid united Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens to stand in solidarity. <strong>They stood together as one in this time of adversity and lit a candle for the innocent lives lost</strong> and for the inner hope that Syria will be a country of peace and a safe haven for their citizens to return to.</p> <p>ARDD-Legal Aid would like to thank all of our participants for the support and hope this event is just one example of unity and one step closer to peace in Syria.</p> <p>Please take a look at our video above, from the event, and take a glance at our photos at our <strong><a href="http://www.facebook.com/ardd-jo" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Facebook</a></strong> page. </p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="/en/blogs/13-03-18-global-vigil-marked-two-year-anniversary-conflict-syria" rel="nofollow">A Global Vigil marked two year anniversary of the conflict in Syria</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Donate to <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis#donate" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's Syria response</a> </strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>A global call for ending the sufferings of Syrians</h2></div> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:51:51 +0000 Céline Grey 10267 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-04-04-global-call-ending-sufferings-syrians#comments 100 days before the Arms Trade Treaty talks – the state of play http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/12-03-28-100-days-arms-trade-treaty-talks-state-play <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>One hundred days from now, the 193 member states of the United Nations will gather in New York for a month-long negotiating conference to agree the first ever international treaty to regulate the arms trade.</strong></p> <p>You can help by <strong><a href="http://www.controlarms.org" rel="nofollow">signing the global Control Arms petition</a></strong> calling on your government to do everything it can to agree a robust, bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty in July 2012.</p> <p>It has been proven that public pressure works. It was the Control Arms campaign that prompted the start of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) talks at the UN six years ago. Now States have the chance to finally make this treaty a reality. But many crucial questions remain unanswered. Here is a short guide to some of the battle lines we expect to see come July.</p> <h3>Treaty criteria</h3> <p>The criteria are the rules under which states will make decisions on whether or not to authorize an arms transfer. In brief, transfers would not be allowed to states which breach international humanitarian or human rights law; where conflict would be fueled; when there is a risk of corruption or diversion of arms from the intended recipient. The key to the effectiveness of the treaty criteria lies in the language:</p> <ul><li>Supporters of a <strong><a href="http://armstreaty.org/" rel="nofollow">strong and effective ATT</a></strong> want the text to declare that states <strong>‘shall not’</strong> transfer arms to recipients where there is substantial risk these criteria would be breached.</li> <li>Treaty skeptics want a wording asking states to just <strong>‘take into account’</strong> the criteria – which would give states the option to ignore any criteria they did not wish to apply.</li> </ul><p>Strong criteria are vital to an effective treaty, and are opposed by treaty skeptics who fear they will be cut off from arms supplies if they cannot meet the global standards set. So far, many States, including Egypt, China, and Cuba, have questioned criteria such as human rights as being “subjective”, and a key player like the US has made it clear that it does not want a Treaty with “shall not” language applying to any criteria beyond respect for UN Charter and UN Security Council embargoes.</p> <h3>Treaty scope</h3> <p>For the Arms Trade Treaty to be effective at preventing atrocities, NGOs and treaty supporters have made it clear that the treaty must regulate the trade of all major weapon systems and armaments - not just those specifically designed for offensive combat operations military arms. This must include small arms and light weapons (SALW), ammunition and equipment, including parts and components, and police and security equipment used for internal repression.</p> <p>The Chairs Paper does not cover police and security equipment, and especially in light of the events of the Arab Spring, NGOs and supportive states are pushing hard for the inclusion of this vital category of equipment. It does also not cover military data-processing and communication systems, which can divert significant resources for development, help identify, acquire and aim at unlawful targets, and/or spy on civilians, civil society or political opposition and therefore constitute serious violations of civil and political rights.</p> <p><a href="http://armstreaty.org/mapsstates_map.php?sid=1333" target="_blank" title="States’ positions on including ammunition in the scope of the Arms Trade Treaty - Armstreaty.org" rel="nofollow"></a> States’ positions on including ammunition in the scope of the Arms Trade Treaty. Credit: <a href="http://armstreaty.org" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">armstreaty.org</a></p> <p>Some countries including the US, Iran and India wish to exclude <strong><a href="http://armstreaty.org/mapsstates_map.php?sid=1333" target="_blank" title="Map - States' positions on ammunition - armstreaty.org" rel="nofollow">ammunition</a></strong> from the scope of the treaty. However, many states are forcefully arguing that because abundant supplies of ammunition are the single greatest factor in intensifying a conflict and multiplying humanitarian harm, it is vital to include ammunition in the scope of the treaty. </p> <p>Also contentious for some sceptics is the inclusion of <strong><a href="http://armstreaty.org/mapsstates_map.php?sid=1386" target="_blank" title="Map - States' positions on Small Arms / Light Weapons - armstreaty.org" rel="nofollow">small arms and light weapons</a></strong>. SALW and their ammunition are precisely the weapons that cause most harm in Africa, and African states (except Egypt and Ethiopia) are united in insisting on their inclusion. </p> <h3>Treaty implementation and transparency</h3> <p>Treaty supporters are adamant that the treaty needs effective reporting and transparency measures, so that implementation can be properly measured. This would include open and yearly reporting of arms transfers, and review conferences and regular meetings of states parties where contested transfers could be debated. This would entail a secretariat for the Treaty (a so called ‘Implementation Support Unit’) which is sufficiently resourced and has the mandate to consolidate and analyze data from national reports to identify discrepancies, gaps, and potential breaches of the treaty. Such a mechanism would allow effective operation of the treaty and a gradual strengthening of the global norms embodied in the treaty.</p> <p>While key states and exporters, such as Russia or China, remain free of any transparency obligations be it at national, regional or international level, many sceptics are set against transparency in the arms trade, failing to recognize that transparency in arms control is usually beneficial to the national security of states involved.</p> <h3>Consensus based decision making</h3> <p>In the last preparatory meeting of States on the Arms Trade Treaty at the UN (known as the <strong><a href="http://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/ATTPrepCom/" target="_blank" title="Arms Trade Preparatory Committee on the Arms Trade Treaty (UN)" rel="nofollow">PrepCom</a></strong>) states agreed that substantive decisions will be taken “by consensus”, echoing, and narrowing, the wording of the UN General Assembly resolution that began the negotiating process (<strong><a href="http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N09/464/71/PDF/N0946471.pdf?OpenElement" target="_blank" title="Resolution adopted by the General Assembly - 64/48 - The arms trade treaty - 12 January 2010" rel="nofollow">UN64/48</a></strong>) which stipulates that “the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty will be undertaken in an open and transparent manner, on the basis of consensus, to achieve a strong and robust treaty”.</p> <p>In brief, what decision-making “by consensus” actually means is neither agreed nor clear – whether decisions must be unanimous (as the US, Russia, Syria and Egypt amongst others would like), or whether an overwhelming majority would be sufficient (as Mexico, Norway, Caribbean states and others would prefer). While both versions of consensus have precedent within the UN system unanimity would be detrimental to this process as it would give any State, including treaty opponents, veto power and likely lead to no treaty or even worse, a very weak one.</p> <p>It is the position of Oxfam and the <strong><a href="http://www.controlarms.org" target="_blank" title="Control Arms coalition" rel="nofollow">Control Arms coalition</a></strong> that agreement by an overwhelming majority gives a better chance of an effective ATT. To what extent states like France, the UK or Germany will be willing to compromise with the likes of US and Egypt on “consensus meaning unanimity” in order to keep them on board until the end remains to be seen.</p> <h3>The presence of NGOs</h3> <p>Some states that oppose a strong ATT – like Pakistan or Egypt – wish to see NGOs excluded from the process altogether. Others, like Mexico or Norway, would like NGOs to be deeply involved. NGO expertise and other support enables smaller states that cannot provide diplomats to cover all working groups for an entire month to participate more fully in the process, by providing the information and analysis they need to do so.</p> <p>The PrepCom decided that that NGOs will be admitted to some but not all conference bodies. This is relatively good news as <strong><a href="http://attmonitor.posterous.com/the-armstreaty-requires-full-and-effective-ng" target="_blank" title="The #ArmsTreaty Requires Full and Effective NGO - Arms Trade Treaty Monitor (Independent views and reports from the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations)" rel="nofollow">NGO participation increases the legitimacy of these ATT negotiations</a></strong>. Decisions made behind closed doors, without allowing effective participation from the organisations that work on the front line, with the people most affected by the irresponsible arms trade, will leave any future Treaty without a solid, informed and accountable foundation. Effective NGO participation is the key to a successful outcome. </p> <h3>Outcome of the conference</h3> <p>Many states supportive of a robust Arms Trade Treaty are becoming worried about the likelihood of a weak treaty being pushed through in July. A minority of sceptical states are increasingly vocal and potentially disruptive, while some main exporting states seem more concerned about ‘just getting a treaty’ with all their competitors on board than on achieving a strong treaty firmly based on international law that will have support from a majority of states.</p> <p>This state of play means that supportive states, in partnership with NGOs, must do everything they can to make sure that states do not waste this historical opportunity to finally make an international treaty that will prevent weapons being used to <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/13/arms-trade-fuels-violence-syria" rel="nofollow"><strong>perpetrate atrocities</strong></a>.</p> <p>We have one shot! In July, progressive states must prevent that the “consensus tyranny” produces a weak treaty that legitimizes the current status quo. You can help by signing the global <a href="http://www.controlarms.org" rel="nofollow"><strong>Control Arms petition</strong></a> calling on your government to do everything it can to agree a robust, bulletproof ATT in July 2012.<strong></strong></p> <p>If you want to learn more about state’s positions on all the different issues that together will make or break a robust ATT, please visit <strong><a href="http://armstreaty.org/" target="_blank" title="Armstreaty.org - Arms Treaty Negotiations Mapping Database" rel="nofollow">armstreaty.org</a></strong> </p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.controlarms.org/index_c.php" target="_blank" title="Control Arms" rel="nofollow">Sign the petition and demand a life-saving treaty</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="Why%20we%20need%20a%20global%20Arms%20Trade%20Treaty" rel="nofollow">Why we need an Arms Trade Treaty: questions &amp; answers </a></strong></p> <p><strong>Anna MacDonald blogs: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/10-11-11-laos-worlds-most-bombed-country">Laos: The World’s Most Bombed Country</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/conflict/controlarms" rel="nofollow">Control Arms campaign</a></strong></p> <p><strong>In the UK, please sign OxfamGB's</strong> <a href="http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get_involved/campaign/actions/arms-trade-treaty-feb-2012.html?intcmp=hp_column-1_arms_130212" rel="nofollow"><strong>petition to David Cameron</strong></a><strong></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>100 days before the Arms Trade Treaty talks – the state of play</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blog/12-03-26-traite-commerce-armes-100-jours" title="Traité sur le commerce des armes : J-100" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blog/12-03-28-negociaciones-tratado-comercio-armas-estado-cuestion" title="Negociaciones del Tratado de Comercio de Armas: estado de la cuestión" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Wed, 28 Mar 2012 11:58:49 +0000 Øistein Thorsen 9813 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/12-03-28-100-days-arms-trade-treaty-talks-state-play#comments