January 8, 2006
UN must act to control deadly arms trade: campaigners
The United Nations must this week pave the way for a treaty to control the sale of small arms that were behind the deaths of one million people since member states last discussed the issue in 2001, campaigners said on Monday. Delegates from U.N. member states hold a preparatory meeting in New York on Monday ahead of a June conference on small arms.
Sun Jan 8, 7:43 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - The United Nations must this week pave the way for a treaty to control the sale of small arms that were behind the deaths of one million people since member states last discussed the issue in 2001, campaigners said on Monday.
Delegates from U.N. member states hold a preparatory meeting in New York on Monday ahead of a June conference on small arms.
"In 2006, the world has a choice. Either it continues to ignore the massive human cost of arms proliferation or it finally acts to control the arms trade," Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam, said in a statement.
Oxfam International, Amnesty International and the International Action Network on Small Arms, which make up the Control Arms Campaign, urged U.N. delegates to prepare the ground for a set of global principles on arms sales that could be bound into an international treaty.
The U.N. is undertaking a major review of small arms controls and is due to meet on June 26.
The sale of small arms leads to the killing and maiming of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, said the Control Arms Campaign, as it published reports on the impact of arms trade on Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.
Campaigners argue there are international treaties controlling the transfer of dinosaur bones and old postage stamps but no comprehensive agreement on arms.
Arms sales have undermined peace keeping efforts in Sierra Leone while, in Haiti, armed violence in the capital Port-au-Prince has increased uncertainty that credible and peaceful elections can he held in coming months, the group said.
"Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone manufacture very few arms, yet they have been flooded with weapons, which have been used to kill, maim, displace and impoverish hundreds of thousands of people," said Denise Searle, Amnesty International's Senior Campaigns Director.
The European Union in October backed the idea of creating an international treaty on the sale of small arms. The bloc agreed the U.N. was the only forum capable of overseeing the move.
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