We’re into the last of a four week UN conference on an Arms Trade Treaty in New York. It is a hugely important conference because, unbelievably, there are no global rules for the arms trade.
I have seen at first hand nine year old boys carrying AK47s. This is in northern Uganda where the Lord’s Resistance Army under the now well-publicised leadership of Joseph Kony benefit from the diversion of arms from the legal market and have, consequently, wreaked havoc on communities. Our partners in the Church of Uganda have done amazing work rehabiliating child soldiers and rebuilding those communities. But we need a robust treaty to ensure that stronger controls are in place and communities worldwide are protected from this kind of terror and harm.
The UK Government acknowledges its status as a major exporter of arms and the responsibilities that come with that. To give credit to the government, they have taken a strong lead in these negotiations. But, as we enter the last week of the conference, there is a danger that negotiations are going off track. We need to get behind our government and others to ensure this does not happen.
Over the years, I have been a supporter of the Control Arms campaign, working with Oxfam in particular. This week, I am in the House of Lords, campaigning with Oxfam and lending my voice wherever I can to ensure the world ends up with a robust arms trade treaty.
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Article from: Diocese of Bristol