Posted by: bklunk | December 11, 2006

Small Arms Don’t Kill People, People With Small Arms Kill People

mdimont picks up on a critical issue, traffic in small arms. The proliferation of small arms has been a key feature of the many irregular wars around the world.

UN Takes on Small Arms Trade

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution 153-1 Wednesday which will look in to a possible formation of a treaty which would establish international standards for small arms trade.  Small arms trade, of which about 25% is illegal, amounts to about 4 billion dollars a year.  Small arms are responsible for 60-90% of all deaths in armed conflicts.  The lone vote against the resolution was the United States.  The US says it did not vote for the resolution, despite the urging of 14 US senators, because it calls for standards which are far below those of current US law. 

I think that such a treaty would be a good idea, however i question how effective it would be.  What constitutes illegal arms trade would be debated between countries.  A country participating in such trade may defend its right to do so, while other nations are declaring the activity illegal.  It is important that any such treaty passed by the UN clearly defines what is meant by illegal trade and provides a way of enforcing it when countries do not comply. 

I also feel that the US should not have voted against the resolution.  While it is great that US law calls for stricter standards, everyone is following American laws.  The US should encourage some international laws of the issue, because any restrictions will be better than none.  As Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam International, said,  “now governments must follow through and achieve a strong, effective treaty… every day that they delay is another day when thousands of lives are wrecked by armed violence.”

U.N. OKs weapons trade treaty resolution

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