Growing Chorus In Support Of The Arms Trade Treaty
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, March 15, 2013, 01:19 PM EDT
As negotiators from around the world head to New York for the final negotiations on an international Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations next week, a number of Nobel Peace Prize winners, celebrities, faith community leaders and retired generals have joined a number of civil society organizations calling on President Obama to support a robust Arms Trade Treaty.
In five separate letters from diverse constituencies, President Obama was urged to join the movement for the Arms Trade Treaty during this critical battle for responsible arms trade.
“As humanitarians and peacemakers, we cannot accept the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are gunned down each year, with millions left maimed and traumatized,” stated the Nobel Peace Laureates letter signed by Oscar Arias, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Leymah Gbowee, Amnesty International and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, among others. “The poorly regulated arms trade fuels conflict, violence, and serious violations of human rights, with devastating effects on health, security, and sustainable social and economic development.”
“One treaty alone cannot end war and violence. But the Arms Trade Treaty can help keep weapons out of the hands of those threatening U.S. troops, missionaries, humanitarian workers and innocent civilians around the globe,” stated a number of faith leaders, including Galen Carey with the National Association of Evangelicals, Jim Winkler with the United MethodistChurch, and the leadership of the Presbyterian Church (USA). “A safer and more stable world benefits all of us. The U.S. should demonstrate its global moral leadership by working to finalize the Arms Trade Treaty by the end of March.”
“We know that no single treaty can put an end to terrorist attacks, human rights abuses, or stop those determined to do evil,” stated the letter signed by a dozen retired US Generals. “But if crafted ambitiously and wisely, the Arms Trade Treaty will be a significant step we can and must take toward dramatically reducing the weapons available to those would use them to harmcivilians and threaten our national security.”
“The Arms Trade Treaty presents a unique and important opportunity to build global normative standards around international arms transfers and thereby advance the cause of peace, stability and human rights worldwide,” stated a letter signed by more than 500 legal professionals and scholars across the United States. “We urge your strong and active support.”
“The world looks to the United States to lead on human rights. Now is the time for us to demonstrate that leadership by endorsing the Arms Trade Treaty,” stated a letter signed by a number of American celebrities, including Djimon Hounsou, Kristin Davis, and Rooney Mara. “As Americans of conscience, we have a responsibility to ensure that children and their families, wherever they are, can live free of violence.”
A number of U.S. organizations have been coordinating a push towards an Arms Trade Treaty, including American Values Network, Amnesty International USA,Arms Control Association, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, National Association of Evangelicals, Oxfam America, and Pax Christi International. Global coordination has been led by the Control Armscoalition, of which a number of these organizations are members of.