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Public statement on the importance of bringing the world’s new Arms Trade Treaty into effect

Public comment from the WCC general secretary on the importance of bringing the world’s new Arms Trade Treaty into effect, issued on 2 April.

02 April 2014

Today 18 more governments are ratifying the world’s first Arms Trade Treaty. The news reminds us each day of how urgently people in different parts of the world need the arms trade to be brought under greater control.  The World Council of Churches is heartened by today’s group effort toward bringing this long-awaited treaty into effect.

It is especially important that five of the world’s top 10 arms exporters are among those ratifying today – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.  A few such suppliers dominate the multi-billion dollar global trade in arms. As soon as other major arms exporting countries, especially the United States, Russia and China, follow the example being set today, much of the ambitious task set for the ATT can begin.

Just one year after it was negotiated, the new treaty is well on its way to entry into force. But more governments need to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty so that arms trading can finally be regulated and people currently at risk can be better protected.

At the recent Assembly of the World Council of Churches we prayed, “God of life lead us to justice and peace”. Delegates from more than 100 countries called for their governments to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty as soon as possible, and to make the treaty stronger by applying it to weapons which are not mentioned at present.

We stand with all churches pursuing these goals and thank God for the signs of shared progress today.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary