Oxfam urges the Canadian government to sign the Arms Trade Treaty without delay to help save lives.
Canada voted for the treaty in April but was not among the more than 60 countries which signed the Treaty when the signing process was launched at the United Nations on Monday.
Lina Holguin of Oxfam said:
“By not signing the Arms trade treaty today, Canada did not listen to the millions of people that live in fear of armed violence. Canada chose instead to continue consulting over the coming months. For the past ten years Canada has heard from Canadians, members of parliament, arms exporter countries and countries affected by armed violence about the urgency to control and open the arms trade to scrutiny. Our message today is loud and clear, we urge Canada to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty as soon as possible.
“The devastating humanitarian consequences of the current conflict in Syria underline just how urgently regulation of the arms trade is needed. In recent media reports, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said "We think that more arms just lead to more suffering of the Syrian people." The ATT won't solve the Syria crises, but it will contribute to preventing future conflicts. Canada needs to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty as soon as possible, to prevent dangerous arms from falling into the wrong hands.”
Ken Epps of Ploughshares said:
“The many Canadians that have worked for years for the historic Arms Trade Treaty can only be disappointed that Canada was not among the first signatories today. We hope that the government will not let misrepresentations of the treaty by the National Rifle Association and its Canadian counterparts prevent it from signing in the very near future.”
Anna Macdonald, Head of Arms Control, Oxfam said:
"More than 60 states today signed the groundbreaking Arms Trade Treaty, with many more committing to signing in 2013. For the first time, there will be global controls on the arms trade, making it much harder for unscrupulous gun runners and human rights abusers to access weapons.
"The most powerful argument for the ATT has always been the call of millions who have suffered armed violence around the world. Their suffering is the reason we have campaigned for more than a decade. Now the words are on the paper, we need the action on the ground so this becomes a treaty about saving lives.
"For the treaty to become binding, we need 50 states to now ratify the treaty in their own countries and for it to become truly global, we need many more than that. This can be done in less than two years, if we all make it a priority."