Where weapons flow in, people flow out
Written by Christina Foerch, Peace Advocate based in the Middle East.
When you read about the Middle East these days , the words chaos; conflict and armed violence come to mind. This depressing and tragic image is far from the hope that the world saw during the Arab spring in 2010.
The security situation in the Arab world has rapidly deteriorated over the last few years.
Civil conflict and violence have spread the region with Libya, Syria , Yemen and Iraq in complete turmoil . People across the region continue to suffer with thousands forced to flee for safety to escape the violence, guns and bombs.
The Syrian conflict alone has produced 4 million Syrians refugees, registered by the UN Refugee agency in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan mainly. The number of non-registered refugees and internally displaced persons is even much higher. The flow of refugees has been considered by the UN to be the single largest refugee crisis in almost a quarter of a century
In Yemen the news is no better . Yemen has been shaken by a new conflict, and the little humanitarian aid allowed to enter the country has barely made a difference to the 21 million who need life saving aid.
Given this depressing situation in the Arab world, and the mass displacement caused by armed conflict, it is painful to see that most Arab governments haven’t committed to controlling weapons through the Arms Trade Treaty .
Only four Arab countries have signed the Arms Trade Treaty so far: Libya, Bahrain, UAE, Lebanon – and none have ratified so far.
A ratified and implemented Arms Treaty across the Middle East would mean less arms wreaking violence against civilians and fewer arms diverted to terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaida.
With the rise of mass displacement and humanitarian crises in the region, the question must be asked: where is the much-needed leadership from stable countries in the region?
Leadership must be shown by Governments in the region, especially those impacted by the mass refugee flows from conflict states. Controlling the flow of weapons into ( and inside) war ravaged countries is a logical step forward.
Only through a significant reduction of arms in this region, can we start to reduce human suffering, loss and death; and only then will it be possible to reduce the flow of refugees and end the violence.
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