Geneva, 6 October 2006
The World Council of Churches would like to convey our gratitude for your government's sponsorship of the draft resolution on the control of conventional arms at the First Committee, UN General Assembly. We attach great importance to the establishment of an Arms Trade Treaty. Member Churches in 150 countries including your country look forward to a treaty capable of controlling the global arms trade and thereby saving lives.
We welcome the references in the draft to the UN Charter and to international humanitarian law. However, an effective Arms Trade Treaty must also be anchored in other foundational commitments and obligations of States and include specific references.
Chief among these is the need for recognition of international human rights law as a norm of great consequence in controlling arms. Concern for the people the treaty must protect compels us to urge your government and the other co-sponsors to include human rights in the draft resolution.
WCC policy calls governments to negotiate a comprehensive and legally binding treaty ensuring that arms transfers are limited and licensed as well as lawful, that stops transfers to the black market and - when it comes to human rights - that makes suppliers partially liable for human rights violations committed with their products.
In this week there are signs of dysfunction on both ends of the spectrum of arms control, from Pennsylvania to North Korea. The urgency of controlling the global arms control progress is especially evident. Yet 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.
We look forward to your government's continuing and increasing efforts to effect positive change.
Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia
Sent to: Geneva/Disarmament Ambassadors of seven sponsoring states: Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Switzerland, UK
Cc: UN Ambassador in New York