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WCC praises draft UN arms control resolution, insists on inclusion of human rights norms

WCC praises draft UN arms control resolution, insists on inclusion of human rights norms

Sculpture unveiled at the launch of a conference organised by the Control Arms campaign at the 26 June to 7 July 2006 UN Review Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons held in New York

10 October 2006

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has congratulated the sponsoring states of a draft resolution on conventional arms control currently before the United Nations General Assembly and urged them to include in the text a specific reference to international human rights law.

In a 6 October letter congratulating the seven sponsoring states - Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Switzerland and the UK - for their work on the draft resolution, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia argues for "a comprehensive and legally binding treaty" ensuring that arms transfers are "limited and licensed as well as lawful", that "transfers to the black market" are stopped, and that suppliers are made "partially liable for human rights violations committed with their products". 

When it comes to human rights, Kobia says, concern for the treaty's ultimate beneficiaries - the people it must protect - makes a inclusion of "international human rights law" in the draft resolution a must. 

The WCC general secretary's letter emphasizes the urgency of global arms control while "every week, in every region, the proliferation of weapons causes violent deaths, acute suffering and an unconscionable diversion of resources from things that make for peace". 

Full text of Kobia's 5 October letter to the Geneva disarmament ambassadors of the draft resolution's sponsoring states 

Background information on the WCC's work on peacebuilding and disarmament