Freedom House Applauds UN Effort to Make Human Rights Priority in Arms Trade
April 2, 2013
Freedom House applauds the United Nations (UN)’ passage of a landmark treaty to prevent the export of arms to human rights abusers. This treaty reinforces global efforts to prevent genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and should be signed by all UN member states.
The treaty to regulate the $70-billion-dollar arms industry and link the sale of weapons to the human rights record of the buyer was adopted by the UN after more than six years of deliberation. Unsurprisingly, three of the world’s worst human rights abusers – Iran, Syria and North Korea –attempted to block the resolution and voted against it. One-hundred-and-fifty-four countries voted in favor of the treaty and 23 countries – including Russia, China, India, and Pakistan – abstained. Countries that ratify the treaty must publicly disclose their sale of conventional weapons on an annual basis, set up a national system to track the trade of weapons and establish national regulations to control the export of weapons.
Countries will be able to sign on to the treaty starting in June 2013, and the UN will ratify the treaty once 50 countries sign. The U.S. and a number of European countries already have their own standards in place linking the sale of arms to the human rights record of the buyer.