Tuesday, 3 July 2012

UN votes on Arms Trade Treaty

Negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty began at the UN this week and will run for four weeks. The treaty aims to limit the unregulated flow of arms, mainly small arms, which are then used by either state or non state groups - usually against civilians. 

The UK Government is supporting the initiative with Alistair Burt of the Foreign Office attending the meetings in New York this week. He said this
"The unregulated trade in conventional arms feeds conflict and undermines peace and security. Since 2006, the UK has been at the front of a global effort to introduce more effective and coherent international regulation of that trade."
Good stuff, but ti's worth remembering that David Cameron was caught flat footed by the Arab Spring when it first burst into the open. While people protested in th streets of North Africa our Prime Minister was in the Middle East, with arms exporters. 

And the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, CAAT, points out that the UK Government has been quick to seal new arms deals with the new regimes now in place, and continue contracts with those such as Saudi Arabia who remain. 

Kaye Stearman of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said:
"..BIS figures show that the UK government is happy to approve arms exports to the same governments who abuse and suppress human rights. It's time to end the double standards and stop selling weapons to these authoritarian and repressive regimes".
Having said that the UK Government is taking a positive stand, and you have to hope that the treaty that emerges stands the test of regimes, including likely signatories to it, who will subsequently do everything they can to flout it. It's part of the answer, but very far from being the only one. No silver bullet here.

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