Following the conclusion of the United Nations Arms Trade conference which resulted in delegations from around the world failing to agree to a landmark treaty to regulate the $60 billion industry in conventional arms, Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, has said:
“I am hugely disappointed that after a month of negotiations the international community has failed to reach an agreement which would effectively stem the flow of illegal weapons and bring much needed regulation to the conventional arms trade. Every single day, 1,500 people are killed in armed violence around the world, with untold numbers injured, disabled and traumatised. Each day that we further delay in regulating this deadly trade means the deaths of thousands of innocent victims; deaths which could so easily be avoided if we were willing to take the necessary political action.
“Once again, it seems that narrow commercial interests have taken precedence over the formation of a comprehensive treaty which would help prevent human rights violations and armed conflict. By continuing to allow arms companies to profit from the misery that we see, for example, in Syria, we are guilty of an abdication of moral and social responsibility which undermines peace-building processes, good governance and true, sustainable development. Countries that speak the language of diplomacy should not be profiting from fuelling conflict. It is especially frustrating that the USA, the world’s largest exporter of conventional weapons, should lead the way in pulling the plug on talks as they were nearing a conclusion.
“Signs suggest that the door remains open for further talks, and I hope that a draft arms trade treaty can be brought before the United Nations General Assembly before the end of the year. However, for a treaty to be successful, it will need broad, unanimous support. Russia, China and the USA say they need ‘more time’ to resolve issues they had with the agreement, but with one person dying every minute from armed conflict, how much longer are they prepared to stand by and delay progress to this much awaited and much needed treaty?”