European & International News

UN Chief and NGOs call for agreement on arms treaty

[Brussels, 27 July 2012] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has issued an appeal to states to bridge differences ahead of today’s deadline for the draft of a new global agreement to control international arms sales.

Ban Ki-moon said that "very limited progress" had been made during 30 days of talks in New York.

The global arms trade is estimated to be worth between $60bn and $70bn per year. Some 750,000 people are killed by illicit weapons each year.

A number of countries have reservations with the draft text, including the US and Russia. China does not want small arms included, a key element for women’s organisations.

The negotiations on a treaty to establish common standards for the global trade is the result of a six-year campaign by a coalition of non-governmental organisations, including EWL members, notably the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Amnesty International and Oxfam.

Even if a treaty is vetoed, it can be taken to the 193-member UN General Assembly and adopted with a two-thirds majority.

For more information, see the Control Arms campaign.

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