The #Armstreaty in the words of State Leaders at the #UNGA

September 26 2011, 3:04 PM by Oistein Thorsen

The police barricades have come down and the limos literally filled with Presidents and Prime Ministers have all but disappeared: its a fact, the High Level Debate of the 66th session of the United National General Assembly is over. As the dust settle is it time to have a look at what was actually said in the UN hall this time around. With only 10 months left until the final negotiating conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) it was great to see several Heads of State from Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific region reiterate their support for a strong treaty to be negotiated in July 2012. Here are the highlights and links to further articles and some of the full statements:

Ghana’s President John Atta Mills fully backed the UN Arms Trade Treaty in his speech when he argued “As a nation, we consider a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) an indispensable step in preventing the flow of conventional arms to destinations where they are likely to wreak havoc and mayhem by either fueling conflict and undermining both national and regional peace, security and development or exacerbating tensions that in many instances could likely create the conditions that necessitate the deployment of international peacekeepers in the first place.” Read his whole speech here.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan proposed the creation of UN conflict mediation commission. He also said that combating conflicts was strongly linked to the tackling the proliferation of small arms and pledged that Nigeria remains committed to the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty that addresses the problem of illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Nigeria speech is here.

President Felipe Calderón of Mexico said that the ATT was necessary to help stop the flow of weapons to his country’s brutal drug gangs. “It is unjust and inhuman that the profits of the arms industry should decide the deaths of thousands of people… At the United Nations we must continue to drive forward negotiations for the International Convention on Trade in Arms so as to avoid their diversion to activities that are forbidden under international rules”. Read Mexico’s speech her.

H.E. Ms. Laura Chinchilla Miranda President of Costa Rica supported the ATT arguing: “Preventive diplomacy requires political will. We have approached another juncture in which it will be put to the test. I am referring to the next conference to achieve an Arrns Trade Treaty, which Costa Rica has actively supported along with other states. We need it to produce a robust, comprehensive and demanding instrument, capable of successfully controlling the flow of the machines of death that provoke all types of conflicts.”

The Prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis argued that the UN’s help is needed to curb youth violence. Specifically, he noted that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Caribbean was helping to fuel the problem of youth violence, and called for a global arms trade treaty to curb the high volume of weapons in circulation.

The Prime Minister of Barbados, H.E. Mr. Freundel Stuart, reiterated his countries’ support for a strong Arms Trade Treaty. “We have experienced first-hand the deleterious effects on our societies of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. At their Summit in July 2011, CARICOM Heads of Government committed themselves ‘to accord the highest national and regional priority to combatting and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition’. We have a vested interest, therefore, in the success of the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (UNCATT) in 2012. We will continue to work with other Member States to achieve the ultimate objective of a legally binding, robust and comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty which imposes the highest possible standards for the transfer of conventional arms, including small arms, light weapons and ammunitions.” Read Barbados’s speech.

Another Caribbean leader speaking out in favor of the ATT was Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Winston Baldwin Spencer. “In the 2007 UNODC and World Bank reports our region was identified as having higher murder rates than any other region in the world, and that small arms and light weapons are used in the commission of more than 70% of those murders. This dubious designation we never sought and it is neither welcome nor desired. This is why, Mr. President, at our most recent Summit in July 2011, my fellow CARICOM Heads adopted a Declaration on Small Arms and Light Weapons in which, inter alia, we agreed to ‘to accord the highest national and regional priority to matters related to combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition’ and to ‘intensify and sustain engagement in the United Nations effort for the conclusion of a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty.’ I call on all member States of our organization to join our region in this worthy endeavour.” Antigua and Barbuda’s full speech is here.

H.E. Mr. Ivo Josipović President of Croatia states that it is “fundamental for the international community to seriously address the problem of illegal trafficking and misuse of small arms, which results in alarming number of causalities each year, particularly among women and children, and has harmful and destabilizing effects on societies. Croatia supports the process leading to adoption of an Arms Trade Treaty at the 2012 Conference.” Read Croatia ‘s speech here.

And finally, Prime Minister H.E. Commodore Josaia V. Bainimarama of Fiji stated that his country voted in favour of the preparation of a robust Arms Trade Treaty in 2006 and “commend all those who have shown commitment to preparing this Treaty for signature in 2012.”

To find out what more details about these and other countries’ positions on the Arms Trade Treaty go check out the interactive map at http://www.armstreaty.org

This Post was prepared by @vinothorsen

Great big thanks to Reaching Critical Will.

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