Bishop Mike Hill and the Diocese of Bristol in partnership with the Diocese of Northern Uganda played a part early in 2012 in encouraging our Government to work for greater legislation to govern the international arms trade. The last international talks broke down without agreement and there is a new call to continue the campaign. Christian Aid’s Anna MacDonald writes:
Earlier this month, world governments agreed to a new Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) conference planned for early 2013.
157 governments at the UN General Assembly in New York voted in favour (there were 18 abstentions and no votes against). This new conference means leaders plan to build on the strong progress made in July.
The new ATT conference will take place 18–28 March 2013. It’s vital that the UK government continues its support for a treaty that will help reduce the devastating effects of armed violence.
Countries didn’t agree to a “non-veto” rule, which is disappointing as it means any one country could block the treaty being agreed in March.
But there’s good news: the Control Arms campaign fought hard and won agreement that if the treaty gets blocked it can go to the UN General Assembly for a majority vote – which means there’s a strong chance we’ll get a treaty agreed in 2013.
We still have a long way to go, and the current Treaty text needs to be strengthened if it’s going to be a truly effective control of the international arms trade. But with a second conference confirmed for early 2013, and agreement on how to counter countries who may still want to block progress, there’s much to be positive about.
Oxfam will continue the campaign leading up to March, and we’ll be in touch with you in in early 2013 for the next phase.
Thank you for your continued support in the fight to agree a strong treaty. We look forward to campaigning with you again in the new year.
Oxfam Head of Arms Control