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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Strengthen rules on arms trade

Every day around the world, armed violence kills approximately 2,000 people. In the Philippines, reports estimate the casualties at between 16 and 22 each day.

The Philippine Action Network to Control Arms (PhilANCA) is pleased that the Philippines is supporting an Arms Trade Treaty in the United Nations. The treaty aims to diminish and prevent the obscene human cost of the irresponsible trade in arms.

However, we do not need just any Arms Trade Treaty. We need a strong Arms Trade Treaty that would cover small arms and light weapons (SALW) and ammunitions within the scope of conventional weapons to be regulated. We need an Arms Trade Treaty that will ensure that no transfer is allowed if there is substantial risk that it will be used to: commit serious violations of international human rights law or humanitarian law; commit acts of genocide or crimes against humanity; facilitate a pattern of gender-based violence; promote violent crime or organized crime; or seriously impair socio-economic development.

In 2010, the Philippines was ranked 130th out of 149 countries in the Global Peace Index. According to reports, we scored badly because of the prevalence of violent crimes, intensity of internal conflicts, violation of human rights, terrorist acts and ease of access to small arms and light weapons. Supporting a strong ATT is an opportunity to tell the world and the citizens of this country that this government is sincere in its aim to protect its people from armed violence.

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