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Faith in the Arms Trade Treaty

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Faith in the Arms Trade Treaty

Statement on behalf of faith groups in the UK
We, the undersigned, representing faith communities in the UK, are deeply concerned about a world awash with arms, which all too easily fall into the hands of those who use them to intimidate, coerce or kill whole communities. More than six billion of the nearly seven billion people on our planet consider themselves to be part of a religion. A global Arms Trade Treaty is impossible without the cooperation of the world’s religious communities. An effective Treaty, which serves to limit human suffering, is not only a moral responsibility, it is a religious duty. The opportunity for us to help tackle the irresponsible sale or transfer of arms and ammunition, is an opportunity for all faith communities to practice what we preach about non-violence. That opportunity has now arrived. We have long argued that the global trade in conventional armaments is an ethical problem that must be addressed internationally. We are encouraged by the process launched in the United Nations in 2009 to negotiate a global Arms Trade Treaty that will set binding international standards for arms sales and transfers. As religious communities we have a responsibility to ensure that poverty reduction and international development are not hindered by the violence and distress caused by an inadequately regulated global arms trade. Only a robust, legally binding, and compassionate Arms Trade Treaty will serve and help save the estimated 2,000 people a day — mostly women and children — who are killed because of armed violence. An Arms Trade Treaty will close the gaps that exist between national and regional export control arrangements and close existing loopholes that make the diversion of arms to the illicit market too easy. Irresponsible transfers fuel conflicts around the world and cause massive social and economic dislocation in countries and regions that are already facing significant development challenges. There is a clear moral imperative for governments to reduce the human suffering caused by irresponsible transfers of weapons. By helping to regulate the international trade in conventional arms, an Arms Trade Treaty could help to save lives, prevent human rights abuses and protect the livelihoods of communities around the world. We urge governments to remain mindful of the humanitarian imperative that drives this process and find a solution that moves all nations further along the path to peace and development. We welcome the steps towards a negotiated ATT. We call upon Governments to negotiate and deliver a strong and effective ATT that has real impact on people’s lives.


Religions for Peace UK


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