Urgent call for tighter rules on arms trade in final treaty

March 11, 2013
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Oxfam report cites loopholes which must be closed to save lives

Oxfam Canada urges the Canadian government to ensure the global Arms Trade Treaty is a robust agreement that covers ammunition and closes loopholes to save innocent lives. A new Oxfam report details loopholes that must be closed in final negotiations.

“Canada has achieved its objective of protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners under the treaty,” said Mark Fried, Oxfam Canada policy coordinator. “Now, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird must use Canada’s diplomatic clout to close the glaring loopholes that would allow weapons to continue to flow to criminals and human rights abusers.”

Diplomatic negotiations on a final text for the conventional weapons treaty resume next Monday at the United Nations in New York for two weeks. As part of a global week of action in advance, Oxfam released a report Monday spelling out the loopholes and detailing how they can be closed.
A major weakness is that sales of ammunition and parts and components are only partially covered. “A gun without bullets is a heavy stick,” the report says. “It is essential ammunition is comprehensively covered.”

The report, Getting It Right: The pieces that matter for an Arms Trade Treaty, sets out the major gaps in the draft reached at the previous negotiation in July.

One loophole allows transfers made under existing defence agreements between Russia and Syria, for example, to go on unregulated. Another loophole undermines treaty provisions meant to stop arms transfers to warlords and human rights abusers. The treaty should ensure weapons transferred as gifts, loans or military aid are covered.

Since the draft text was agreed, an estimated 325,000 people have been killed through armed violence, Oxfam said in a joint statement with Saferworld, an independent international organization working to prevent violent conflict. Both organizations are members of the international Control Arms coalition. The coalition is led in Canada by Oxfam Canada, Amnesty International and Project Ploughshares.

Please see the report, Getting It Right. The pieces that matter for an Arms Trade Treaty.


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For more information:

Juliet O’Neill
Oxfam Canada media



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