World View: The United Nations Votes On First Ever Arms Trade Treaty
U.S.-supported agreement regulates international sale of weapons
Firearms control advocates are ready to celebrate what is being considered a major victory for global human rights and peace. Despite early opposition, largely from the worst offenders, a majority of the 193 members states at the United Nations are expected to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty in a vote Tuesday morning. Although many large countries already control arms exports, there has never been an international treaty regulating the global arms trade. For more than a decade, activists and some governments have pushed for a set of standards that requires governments to consider the potential for civil conflict and other human atrocities upon transfer of small arms and other mass casualty weaponry. If the risk is too high, arms dealers are to be prohibited from making the transfer. It cannot be understated how important this is for innocent victims of armed conflicts in African and Latin American nations, as well as some Arab nations.