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U.S. signs controversial UN arms treaty

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 2nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United Nations general assembly has passed a new comprehensive arms treaty that regulates the $70 billion dollar-per-year arms industry. Only three countries voted against the treaty. The United States signed. The treaty is known as the Arms Trade Treaty.

NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) - The Arms Trade Treaty was approved by 154 countries including the U.S. All other countries, except three abstained. Russia and China were among the abstentions-an expected move since both are large-scale arms exporters.

Syria, Iran, and North Korea voted against the treaty, accusing the framers of composing a treaty that unfairly targeted their countries.

The treaty enjoyed broad support from African nations that were concerned about how the influx of weapons into their countries, particularly via the black market, affected their political stability.

Although the United States voter in support of the treaty, the treaty was widely opposed in the U.S. and by the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the grounds that it could have a controlling effect on domestic arms sales.  They see the treaty as potentially interfering with Second Amendment rights of citizens.

Several U.S. politicians from the Republican Party have also criticized the treaty.

The treaty will however, link the sales of arms to the human-rights records of the buyers. It is hoped that the potential of political embarrassment will dissuade suppliers from dealing with shameful buyers with poor human rights records.

Chances are, however, that such dealers and suppliers have little concern or this. Despite the broad international support for the treaty, like most things passed by the UN, this treaty has no enforcement mechanism.

The treaty will now have to be ratified by the United States Senate.

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