Every year, approximately 730,000 people die because of armed conflict. That is 2000 people every day, or 83 every hour, a bit more than one person per minute, tick… tick… another one gone.
Not all these people are ‘combatants’, many are innocent civilians, mown down while trying to live ordinary lives. Used as human shields, the ‘unfortunate’ target of misdirected weapons, or perhaps just the reasonless target of a militia man. In many countries children are forced to become soldiers, toting automatic weapons at an age when they should be playing with their friends.
In 2006 campaigners scored an important goal, getting the UN to agree to begin a process of agreeing a treaty on controlling the arms trade. But now its three years later, and we dont yet have that treaty.
In October 2008 the U.N. General Assembly voted 145 to 2 with 18 abstentions for a resolution. Who were the two spanners in the works? Zimbabwe and America. I’ll say no more about that pairing. But the anti campaigners role out the hackneyed claims of ‘guns don’t cause conflicts’ and ‘the West is not to blame for the ills of the world’. Well duh. But guns sure as anything are really useful when you want to kill people, and the West sure does make a lot of money out of selling them.
We need the UN to decide to reopen negotiations again in 2010, if they do so we could at last see a step forward towards controlling this vile trade, which not only robs lives on a minute by minute basis, but also feeds poverty and oppression throughout the world.
We need the UN to act, visit the Control Arms site today to learn more and to add your support, and expect to hear more about the subject here.