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June 28, 2017

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14 Year Old Child Bride Facing Death Penalty for Murdering Husband -

Saturday, November 29, 2014

BREAKING: New Coal Disaster In West Virginia -

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

U.S. Hostage Freed by Colombia’s FARC Rebels (Video) -

Monday, October 28, 2013

Here’s Why The Zimmerman Verdict Matters -

Sunday, July 14, 2013

BREAKING! UK Government Spied On Allies At TWO G20 Summits (Video) -

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Swiss Support Tougher Asylum Legislation as Refugee Numbers Spike -

Monday, June 10, 2013

American Woman Killed in Syria Fighting for Terrorists, Syrian TV Claims (Video) -

Friday, May 31, 2013

CO2 in the Air Reached its Highest Level in Human History -

Friday, May 10, 2013

Terms of the New Abortion Bill Agreed by Irish Cabinet -

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Boston In Lockdown As Manhunt Intensifies -

Friday, April 19, 2013

2 Dead, Dozens Injured After Boston Marathon Bombing -

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fast Food Workers in New York Stage Surprise Strike -

Saturday, April 6, 2013

N. Korean Rhetoric Provokes Missile Shield Deployment -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts from Meiktila Massacre -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sudan to Free All Political Prisoners -

Monday, April 1, 2013

A New Free Press In Burma Juxtaposed With Genocide: The World Will Be Watching -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pressure Builds to End Ethnic Violence in Myanmar -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Activists Demand Action As Further Genocide Looms -

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cyprus Reaches Last-Minute Bailout Deal With EU -

Monday, March 25, 2013

Myanmar Muslims Brace for Possible Genocide -

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Toothless International Arms Trade Treaty

On April 2nd 2013, The United Nations General Assembly approved the first global arms trade treaty with 154 votes in favor, 3 against and 23 abstentions. The overwhelming approval comes one week after Iran, Syria and North Korea prevented a treaty-drafting conference at U.N. headquarters from reaching the required consensus to adopt the treaty. These same countries were the sole votes against the treaty last Tuesday.

The text of this treaty carries the purpose of regulating the international trade in conventional arms. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon praised the treaty as a powerful new tool in preventing grave human rights abuses and for providing momentum for further global disarmament efforts. In his statement, after the General Assembly’s action, he called it “a victory for the world’s people” and “a historic diplomatic achievement – the culmination of long-held dreams and many years of effort.”

There are plenty of reasons to stay skeptical on how much effect this treaty will actually have unless the world’s biggest weapons manufactures sign up. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) warned, that the treaty would do little to control the sale of arms to dictatorial regimes, because it determines that countries have exclusively commercial reasons to export arms.

The parliamentary coordinator of the CAAT believes that the treaty legitimizes the arms trade. “If governments are serious about ending the trade in weaponry, with dire consequences for peace and human rights, they should immediately stop promoting arms exports.”

Critical voices of this treaty will take the Secretary-General’s words with a grain of salt, as some would argue, since the UN has turned a blind eye to arms and funding going to Al–Qaeda-linked rebels in various countries, making itself complicit in these crises.

The treaty bans the export of conventional arms to countries considered guilty of committing crimes against humanity and breaking international human rights laws. The problem arises when we consider that it is the UN that makes the decision on whether a country is a human rights abuser or not. What makes this treaty down right dangerous is the fact that it doesn’t include any prohibition regarding the extension of arms to terrorists and unlawful non-state actors. This means that NATO and other states will be free to continue providing arms to opposition groups in Syria, while at the same time having an increased say over the arming of importing states, even if they are in agreement with their national security and legitimate defense interests.

The United States as the world’s largest arms exporter with heavy sway over the UN, is given an even greater ability to influence which country is allowed to acquire weapons for its own defense, since the treaty fails to acknowledge the right of every state to obtain, produce, export, import and possess conventional weapons for security purposes.

The treaty also fails to prohibit the obvious. The transfer of arms to countries engaged in military aggression against other countries such as Israel. It also fails to prohibit the export of any kind of weapon.

Some common-sense measures found their way into the treaty, such as the introduction of a national system that monitors the arms circulation in countries that don’t already have such a system.

In order to legitimize this treaty, global mass casualty figures were used. The rightful objective should therefore be the reduction of arm sales by limiting global production. Surprisingly enough, the treaty does not target this area.

Accusations, that the text of this treaty is highly industry friendly cannot be dismissed. It denies arms to unfriendly governments, while institutionalizing and legalizing the arming of “good terrorists”.

The hope is, that an international arms trade treaty will finally be able to reduce human suffering and have meaningful impact, once the UN stops being a limb of some of the most powerful arms exporting countries.

Clarissa Frankfurt (20 Posts)

Clarissa Frankfurt is a law student at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. While her country of origin is Switzerland, she has also lived in America for 4 years and in Germany for 3 years. Her Master studies are concentrated on International law and Human Rights, as well as Diplomacy. When she’s not studying, you can find Clarissa online blogging about politics, mainly American politics, social issues such as Women’s Rights and equality for the LGBT community, Democracy and Human Rights (http://tocareornottocare2012.wordpress.com/). Offline, you can find Clarissa playing the violine in the university orchestra, teaching English, taking part in Model UNs (...MUN) or fanatically shooting hoops.