Illegal Arms Trade Leads to Suffering, Says Holy See

Expresses Support for UN Conference on Weapons Regulations

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NEW YORK, JULY 24, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The illegal weapon trade has contributed to numerous situations of human suffering, and a set of global regulations are needed, says the Holy See.

In a statement prepared for the Third Preparatory Committee for the U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which took place July 11-15 in New York, the Holy See Mission to the United Nations expressed support for "a set of internationally-agreed standards," which will be discussed at next year's U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty.  

"In many parts of the world," the statement began, "the illicit trade of weapons and ammunition has led to human suffering, internal conflicts, civil unrest, human rights violations, humanitarian crises, crime, violence and terror."

Acknowledging the "great importance of the current Arms Trade Treaty process," the statement noted: "Non-regulated and non-transparent arms trading and the absence of effective monitoring systems for arms trading at the international level cause serious humanitarian consequences, slow down integral human development, undermine the rule of law, increase conflicts and instability around the globe, endanger peace-building processes in various countries and spawn a culture of violence and impunity."

"Here we should always bear in mind the grave repercussions of illicit trade in arms on peace, development, human rights and the humanitarian situation, especially the deep impact it leaves on women and children," the Holy See added. "These issues can be effectively solved only through the common sharing of responsibilities by all members of the international community."

The statement of the Holy See's U.N. mission urged that no weapons be "regarded as any other kind of merchandise that is put on sale." The delegation explained the need for regulations "in accordance with specific principles of the moral and legal order."

"Every effort is required to prevent the proliferation of all types of weapons which encourage local wars and urban violence and kill too many people in the world every day," the note said. "Hence, the urgency for the adoption of a legal instrument, which the Holy See fully supports, with legally binding measures on trade control for conventional weapons and munitions on the global, regional and national levels."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33143?l=english