Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Despite hurdles, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly today in favor of the first treaty to restrict the global trade in conventional weapons. Once in effect, the treaty will require states exporting covered weapons to develop criteria that would link exports to avoiding human rights abuses, terrorism and organized crime. It would also ban shipments if they were deemed harmful to women and children. Countries that join the treaty would have to report publicly on sales every year, bringing more transparency to the trade in weapons. The vote was 154 in favor, 3 opposed (Iran, Syria and North Korea).
The Obama Administration has expressed support for the treaty, formally co-sponsoring it at the UN, despite domestic opposition from gun rights groups. The Obama Administration has pointed out that the treaty does not affect domestic sales, but instead will apply to the $70 billion dollar annual trade in arms globally.
The treaty will be opened for signature and ratification by Member States in June 2013. 50 states must join before it will become effective.