New Zealand to put Pacific case for strong UN treaty on illegal arms trade

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-7-2 14:26:03

New Zealand will present a Pacific-wide appeal for a comprehensive United Nations treaty to stop the illegal arms trade, the government announced Monday.

As current Pacific Islands Forum Chair, New Zealand would present the common regional position on the treaty during negotiations at the United Nations in New York this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said in a statement.

"These weapons often end up in the hands of terrorists, criminals and human rights abusers," McCully said.

"Illegally traded arms have a devastating impact on the security and development prospects of communities worldwide. This is of serious concern to the New Zealand government, and why we have been a leading advocate of a strong and comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty."

New Zealand was one of more than 150 governments supporting better regulation of the global trade in conventional weapons

loosely defined as anything from bullets to battleships, he said.

The Arms Trade Treaty negotiations stem from a 2009 UN resolution.

"We need states to sign up to a global treaty with strict criteria for assessing transfers of weapons that will address the illegal trade's human impact," McCully said.

"These negotiations present a significant opportunity to end illicit flows of conventional weapons."

Last week, all parties in the New Zealand Parliament Wednesday backed a motion committing the government to the negotiation of a "comprehensive and robust" Arms Trade Treaty.

Disarmament and arms control spokesperson for the main opposition Labour Party, Maryan Street, said after the move that the country wanted to see a treaty that was "strong and forceful."

The motion said the Parliament noted that the illegal arms trade contributed to violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law and hampered socio-economic development.

The Parliament recognized the need for those consequences to be addressed by a legally binding UN treaty with "robust and comprehensive scope, criteria and implementation provisions."

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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