Religious Leaders Unite in Call for Strong #ArmsTreaty

September 21 2011, 8:23 AM by Oistein Thorsen

To mark International Peace Day on 21 September global faith leaders launched an Interfaith Declaration to add their voice to the call for a robust Arms Trade Treaty. Already a significant number of leaders and faith based organizations have signed up, including the Archbishop Emeritus of Sweden and the Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines.

The Declaration will remain open for signatures until it is delivered to governments in advance of the final ATT negotiating conference in July 2012. Check out the full text of the declaration and the signatures so far.

The Declaration calls on member states of the United Nations to negotiate and deliver a strong and effective ATT that has real impact on people’s lives. It further reminds political leaders of the humanitarian imperative that sparked the Arms Trade Treaty process in the first place. Jeff Abramson, the Coordinator of the new Control Arms Secretariat, welcomed the initiative:

“Religious leaders have the unique ability to remind governments of their moral responsibility to conclude a treaty that will help save lives and protect the livelihoods of people around the world. The early support the Declaration has already received indicates that faith leaders recognize the need for global rules on an industry that is out of control, and that they are willing to speak out for a robust ATT.”

September 21 is the International Day of Peace, and the start of the “Dozen Days of Action for a Robust Arms Trade Treaty” which will conclude on 2 October (International Day of Nonviolence). During the Dozen Days of Action, religious communities and leaders around the world will be undertaking actions to foster greater understanding about the Arms Trade Treaty. Click here to read the Action Alert for the Dozen Days of Action.

Member states of the United Nations will meet in July 2012 to negotiate a global ATT to establish effective standards to regulate the international arms trade. Such an agreement would seek to harmonize diverse national laws on the trade in armaments and ammunition. The differences between them have created the legal loopholes which have for decades led to the diversion of arms and ammunition into the hands of criminals and those who have used them to abuse human rights and hinder economic development. One person dies every minute (an estimated 740,000 annual deaths worldwide) as a result of armed violence.

Posted by Øistein Thorsen, @vinothorsen