Tell President Obama: Sign the Arms Trade Treaty!
  • Petitioned President of the United States

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President of the United States

Tell President Obama: Sign the Arms Trade Treaty!

    1. Sponsored by

      Oxfam America

Last month, 154 nations voted to adopt the first-ever international Arms Trade Treaty to help control the flow of arms and ammunition across borders – saving lives, preventing armed conflicts and protecting human rights.

On June 3, countries will have their first oppurtunity to sign the Arms Trade Treaty. Make no mistake, this moment is critical. A signature from the United States is vital to ensuring a strong, effective treaty.

The United States has been a key leader in making this treaty a reality. Now, it needs to be one of the first countries to sign it.

Urge President Obama to sign the Arms Trade Treaty on June 3.

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    1. Reached 5,000 signatures

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    Reasons for signing

    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 3 months ago

      Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

      — Former U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a speech on April 16, 1953

      The arms trade is a major cause of human rights abuses. Some governments spend more on military expenditure than on social development, communications infrastructure and health combined. While every nation has the right and the need to ensure its security, in these changing times, arms requirements and procurements may need to change too.

      Each year, around $45-60 billion worth of arms sales are agreed. Most of these sales (something like 75%) are to developing countries.

      The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China), together with Germany and Italy account for around 85% of the arms sold between 2004 and 2011.

      Some of the arms sold go to regimes where human rights violations will occur. Corruption often accompanies arms sales due to the large sums of money involved.

      World military spending had reduced since the Cold War ended, but a few nations such as the US retain high level spending.

      In recent years, global military expenditure has increased again and is now comparable to Cold War levels. Recent data shows global spending at over $1.7 trillion. 2012 saw the first dip in spending — only slightly —since 1998, in an otherwise rising trend.

      A US military training school, the School of the Americas, has trained many of the worst human rights violators and dictators in various Latin American countries.

      Some of the worst dictators and human rights abusers in the developing world have passed through the school's doors, including people like Roberto D’Aubisson from El Salvador and Manuel Noriega of Panama.

      The US Army maintain that the school was set up to preserve democracy.

      The growing availability of small arms has been a major factor in the increase in the number of conflicts.

      In modern conflicts over 80 percent of all casualties have been civilian. 90 percent of these are caused by small arms.

      The arms trade is one of the most corrupt trades in the world, fueling conflict and poverty. Since the early 1990s there has been efforts to review and develop arms-transfer principles and codes of conduct to ensure that arms are not sold to human rights violators. The US, EU and others have developed some codes, but they are fraught with problems, loopholes, lack of transparency and are open to corruption. There is a proposed international arms trade treaty to overcome these limitations. However, for various political and profit reasons, some nations seem unwilling to agree to a code of conduct. Proposals are growing stronger for an arms trade treaty. Will that suffer the same problem?

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