News / Europe

Optimism Ahead of UN Arms Trade Conference

Possibility that UN Can Strike Arms Trade Deal Breeds Optimismi
X
March 15, 2013 7:39 PM
Campaigners optimistic that a deal can be reached to control an industry worth an estimated $80 billion a year.
Henry Ridgwell
As the Syrian uprising marks its two-year anniversary, the U.N. estimates fighting between government and rebel forces has taken 70,000 lives.
 
The anniversary comes as diplomats head to the United Nations in New York for the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. The conference, which gets underway Monday, has campaigners optimistic that a deal can be reached to control an industry worth an estimated $80 billion a year.
 
But with universal consensus required to pass any agreement, any one country could derail a treaty.
 
“Amnesty International has been saying for at least a couple of years now that those arms have to be stopped, there needs to be a total embargo on Syria," said Brian Wood, head of arms control at Amnesty International. "Certainly if you had an arms trade treaty that was well formulated, this tragic situation could have been mitigated.”
 
Wood says the Syrian conflict is just one example of the huge global impact of the arms trade.
 
“Since the Second World War we’ve had almost 400 armed conflicts," he said. "That’s a lot. And that doesn’t even count the number of people dying in gang violence, in state repression, all the people who are injured or otherwise abused.”
 
The last U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in July 2012 ended without agreement. But this time around there is optimism that the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members will agree on a text.
 
But Woods says reaching consensus across the conference will be a challenge.
 
“If, for example, North Korea says ‘No we don’t want this,’ then it cannot be adopted by consensus," said Wood. "It has to be taken back to the General Assembly."
 
But according to Kaye Stearman of the London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade, even among those in favor of controlling the arms trade, there is not universal agreement.
 
“The Arms Trade Treaty is not going to stop that," said Stearman. "The arms trade is dominated by a few very large countries — USA, Britain, Russia, China, France, Germany — and none of those countries are doing anything to stop their own participation in the arms trade.”
 
Stearman says many countries backing the treaty are selling arms to governments with poor human rights records.
 
“Look at Saudi Arabia," she said. "It’s definitely a human rights abuser in more ways than one: it’s undemocratic; it’s abusive; it restricts the rights of women and children; it practices public beheadings, and yet the UK still manages to sell arms to Saudi Arabia. In fact it’s the largest customer for U.K. arms.”
 
The British Foreign Office, which declined an interview, gave a statement saying “the UK government takes its export licensing responsibilities seriously and operates one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes in the world. ... We pay particular attention to allegations of human rights abuses.”
 
The arms trade is worth billions of dollars and observers say imposing controls will require a landmark global agreement.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in the Middle East

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghettoi
X
Kane Farabaugh
August 30, 2014 1:20 AM
When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid