Churches hope Arms Trade Treaty process will continue with renewed commitment
Following delay in the proposed adoption of a global Arms Trade Treaty after four weeks of negotiations at the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in New York, the World Council of Churches (WCC) expressed concern for “people and communities waiting for protection from the unregulated arms trade”.
Having started on July 2, the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty concluded yesterday. The negotiations on an arms trade treaty have been called off after governments were not able to reach agreement on international regulation of arms exports.
“Churches are concerned with the postponement in this long process, but we will plead for stronger controls of conventional weapons for a more peaceful and just world. Recent conflicts in several countries show the need for that,” said the WCC general secretary, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.
The ecumenical delegation at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in New York shared this view, “For decades, churches around the world have been calling for an Arms Trade Treaty that would protect people from irresponsible arms transfers. We will not let go of this demand,” read the statement.
The delegates represent some 70 member churches and related organisations in 35 countries who are involved in the WCC campaign for a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty over the past several years.
The delegation to the UN conference was led by the WCC Central Committee moderator, the Rev. Dr Walter Altmann. During the conference, the delegation issued an appeal to the 194 countries involved in negotiating the global arms trade treaty to “keep ammunition in the treaty” in addition to the control of weapons.
The delegates stated that churches will be following these processes carefully, and will work with their partner organisations to hold governments to account, as the treaty and its implementation is essential to save lives.
Religious leaders say Arms Trade Treaty must regulate ammunition (WCC press release of July 20)