Holy See Says UN Arms Treaty Should Have Broad Scope

Recommends Reference to Education, Public Awareness

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NEW YORK, FEB. 17, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See at the United Nations is highlighting five elements to consider regarding the Arms Trade Treaty.

On Monday, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, the permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, participated in the Fourth Session of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

«With other States and the various actors of the international community, the Holy See shares the view that the principal objective of the Treaty should not be merely the regulation of the conventional arms trade but should be, above all, the disarming of the international illicit market,» he said.

The archbishop called for a «strong, effective and credible legal instrument» that would be capable of «regulating and improving transparency in the trade of conventional arms and munitions, including the trading and licensing of technologies for their production.»

In this regard, he noted five elements to take into account: 

1) The scope of the ATT should be broad, comprising not solely the seven categories of arms which the UN Register of Conventional Arms considers, but also small arms and light weapons, together with their relevant munitions

2) The criteria for application of the Treaty must maintain reference to human rights, humanitarian law and development. These are the three areas in which the impact of the illicit market in arms is particularly pernicious

3) The capacity for the success of the Treaty will depend also on its ability to promote and reinforce international cooperation and assistance between States

4) Provisions relating to assistance for victims must be maintained and, if possible, strengthened, giving attention also to the prevention of illicit arms proliferation, by reducing the demand for arms which often feeds the illicit market. It seems opportune, from this perspective, then, to introduce references in the Treaty to educative processes and public awareness programmes

5) Mechanisms for treaty review and updating need to be strong and credible, capable of quickly incorporating new developments in the subject matter of the ATT, which must remain open to future technological developments

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-34321?l=english

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