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Interfaith prayer during the UN conference in 2012 in preparation of the Arms Trade Treaty. © Tom Martinez/WCC

Interfaith prayer during the UN conference in 2012 in preparation of the Arms Trade Treaty. © Tom Martinez/WCC

With the forthcoming 1st Conference of States Parties (CSP), the international community has an opportunity – and duty – to ensure effective and comprehensive implementation of the treaty; to make this document work to save lives in practice,” says a World Council of Churches (WCC) statement issued from its international affairs office on 20 August.

The CSP is set to take place in Cancun, Mexico, from 24-27 August 2015.

“The decisions that will be made in Cancun – on the fine technical details of rules of procedure, financial mechanisms, reporting, and secretariat support – will have tremendous practical import for the lives of millions of people threatened by armed violence. Mexico has the privilege and burden of leadership in this process,” reads the statement.

It says: “Every day, local churches in many parts of the world witness the devastating human impact of the poorly controlled flow of weapons and ammunition. We are motivated by the faith calling and moral desire to save lives from this threat.”

The WCC with its member churches has been actively engaged in lobbying for a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which came into force on 24 December 2014.

The WCC statement therefore stresses that the “Rules of Procedure for ATT conferences must ensure that conference decision-making is democratic, representative, transparent and equitable.”

“There is an opportunity at next week’s meeting to provide the ATT with the kind of Rules of Procedure which the CD so clearly needs and has repeatedly failed to adopt. The opportunity for the ATT to be different must be seized now,” says the statement.

Read WCC statement: First Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty

Statement on the Way of Just Peace, adopted by the WCC 10th Assembly

Arms Trade Treaty website