The NAE welcomes yesterday’s release of a consolidated draft text of the Arms Trade Treaty. The draft treaty is the fruit of intensive negotiations over the past four weeks. In addition to some minor corrections, the treaty text should be strengthened in two important ways, said Galen Carey, NAE Vice President for Government Relations.
“The ban on arms transfers for the purpose of committing genocide or other war crimes should be extended to cases in which the country initiating the transfer knows that the weapons will be used for war crimes or other atrocities, whether or not that is the stated purpose,” Carey said. “The text should also clarify that the list of war crimes is illustrative rather than exhaustive.”
Carey added that that the text referring to the export of arms should be revised to cover all international arms transfers, whether they are routed through the country’s export system, or are provided as gifts from the transferring state. The key issue is not who pays for the weapons, but who will use them, and for what purposes.
“While serving as a missionary in Africa, I saw firsthand the impact that weak or non-existent international arms regulations have. Fellow Christians and neighbors perished because weapons fell into the hands of terrorists,” Carey said.
The NAE calls on the Obama administration to exercise strong leadership in bringing the Arms Trade Treaty to a successful conclusion and calls on evangelicals to pray for Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman, who heads the U.S. delegation. Under the terms of the negotiations, the treaty must be approved by consensus by midnight Friday, July 27, 2012.