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Thứ Tư, tháng 10 04, 2006

No. 1162 ( Minh Châu dịch)

Religious leaders urge global arms trade treaty
(AFP)

3 October 2006

LONDON - A group of religious leaders including Nobel winner Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama called on Tuesday for urgent agreement on a global arms trade treaty, saying it could save hundreds of thousands of lives.


The call came a day after a report warned that arms traders are profiting from a lack of international rules to supply weapons to unscrupulous groups and bypass arms embargoes on countries.

‘The world is awash with weapons,’ said the 14 religious leaders, including South African Archbishop Tutu, in a letter to The Times of London. ‘And all too often, weapons fall into the wrong hands and are used against innocent people.

‘Yet, despite the mounting death toll, there is still no comprehensive treaty governing sales of conventional weapons from handguns to attack helicopters,’ they lamented.

Other signatories were: Bishop Gunnar Staalsett, Reverend Olav Fykse Tveit, Sheikh Musa Muhammad, Dr Hanny Al Banna, Rabbi David Saperstein, Swami Agnivesh, Father Robert F. Drinan, Joe Volk, Mary Ellen McNish, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Reverend William Okoye and Bishop William Kenney.

Their letter came after a report backed by Amnesty International and Oxfam which warned that the globalization of the arms industry has shed light on the shortcomings of existing legislation to control it.

‘Weapons companies are globalizing, but the legislation is not, and the result is the arming of regimes guilty of abuse,’ said Jeremy Hobbs, of Oxfam International after the publication of the report ‘Arms without Borders’.

The report, also backed by the International Action Network on Small Arms -- an umbrella organization of 600 NGOs -- outlines how US, European and Canadian companies bypass laws regulating weapons trade by selling arms in detached pieces or by subcontracting their activities to local businesses.

In The Times, Tutu and his colleagues underlined the huge impact a global treaty would have. They noted that 55 countries, including much of Africa, Latin America and Europe, already back the setting up of such a treaty.

‘An international arms trade treaty based on governments’ existing commitments under human rights and humanitarian law would have the power to save hundreds of thousands of lives,’ they said.

And they added: ‘As faith leaders from many different countries we call on the world’s governments to act urgently to bring the arms trade under control.’

‘This is a global horror story, which plays itself out from the favelas of Brazil to conflict in the Middle East and to the killings in Darfur. And the vast majority of the victims are not fighters, but ordinary men, women and children,’ they said.


http://www.khaleejtimes.ae/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/theworld/2006/October/theworld_October75.xml§ion=theworld&col=