United Nations General Assembly Approves Global Arms Trade Treaty

by Colonel on April 3, 2013

“The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the first treaty on the global arms trade, which seeks to regulate the $70 billion business in conventional arms and keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), a powerful U.S. pro-gun lobbying group that has opposed the treaty from the start, said it was a sad day for the United States, which joined the vast majority of U.N. member states by voting for the pact.

IranSyria and North Korea cast the sole votes against the treaty. The same three states last week prevented a treaty-drafting conference at U.N. headquarters from reaching the required consensus to adopt the pact.

The official U.N. tally showed 154 votes in favor, three against 23 abstentions, though diplomats and U.N. officials said the actual vote was 155-3-22.

” — (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Paul Simao, Stacey Joyce, Todd Eastham and Lisa Shumaker), Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters

“Although implementation is years away and there is no specific enforcement mechanism, proponents say the treaty would for the first time force sellers to consider how their customers will use the weapons and to make that information public. The goal is to curb the sale of weapons that kill tens of thousands of people every year — by, for example, making it harder for Russia to argue that its arms deals with Syria are legal under international law.

The hope is that even nations reluctant to ratify the treaty will feel public pressure to abide by its provisions. The treaty calls for sales to be evaluated on whether the weapons will be used to break humanitarian law, foment genocide or war crimes, abet terrorism or organized crime or slaughter women and children.

” — Neil MacFarquhar, Copyright 2013 The New York Times Company

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