"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
October 22, 2007

Control Arms Campaign

The Control Arms campaign is a joint venture from Amnesty International, Oxfam and Iansa (International Action Network on Small Arms), working towards the implementation of an international treaty to regulate the Arms Trade (Control Arms also has a nascent multi-author blog). The movement was formed in October 2003 and in December 2006 the UN voted […]

The Control Arms campaign is a joint venture from Amnesty International, Oxfam and Iansa (International Action Network on Small Arms), working towards the implementation of an international treaty to regulate the Arms Trade (Control Arms also has a nascent multi-author blog). The movement was formed in October 2003 and in December 2006 the UN voted to start work on the treaty. In 2008 experts will meet to discuss the potential shape of the treaty and the ways in which such a treaty might be implemented.

Amazingly, the intertational trade in conventional military arms is largely unregulated (or under-enforced). As the Control Arms website puts it,

“…while international treaties have been adopted in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation, and chemical and biological weapons and anti-personal landmines have been outlawed, there are no compulsory common international standards regulating the transfer of conventional arms. The current patchwork of divergent national and regional standards is clearly inadequate to the task. Indeed these can be seen as part of the problem, because irresponsible producers, traders and buyers play off various regulatory jurisdictions against each other. Without an effective international agreement setting high common standards for all forms of international arms transfers covering all conventional arms, in many countries human rights and human security will continue to be at the mercy of irresponsible traders. This is a global challenge; it requires a global response.”

On the Control Arms website you can see the publically available submissions made to the United Nations. Many express similar sentiments, especially those from the co-authors of the Arms Trade Treaty Resolution, such as Australia,

Australia believes that the irresponsible or illicit transfer of conventional arms and their components is of such grave and pressing concern that this can only be adequately addressed through the establishment of a legally binding, multilateral treaty.

Kenya,

The often tragic reality of our time is that weapons do very easily fall in the wrong hands. The result is disastrous consequences among the civic population who make up the majority of conflict victims. They are maimed, tortured, rendered homeless and lose their lives as a result of conflicts that are fuelled by the ready availability of conventional weapons. Faced with this reality, it is imperative that states take urgent action to address the problem

and the UK,

Currently standards for national controls of the international trade in conventional arms vary greatly. Some States have highly developed transfer controls and systems in place to enforce them stringently. Others have good controls on paper, but have weak enforcement practices; while some have, in practical terms, no real controls at all. This means that, given the international nature of the arms trade, and the ease which arms can be transported, today there is no universally effective way to prevent irresponsible or illegal arms transfers, such as those in breach of international or regional embargoes. This situation will persist as long as the existing commit ments of St ates are not clearly set out in one comprehensive instrument, and as long as the standards they agree, and are expected to abide by, are not clearly elaborated in a transparent universal framework for all States to follow.

[tags] Control Arms, Weapons Trade, War, Ethics [/tags]

Responses
Toni 15 years ago

It’s a really great idea. Unfortunately I suspect it would just result in the ‘rest of the world’ using Chinese made weapons.

Fernando Gros 15 years ago

In the short term, probably yes. That said, one large and apparently Christian nation is noticable by its absence on the list of countries involved in the movement…

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