Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Caribbean Countries Call On UN To Begin Negotiations On Arms Trade Treaty

By Oscar Ramjeet

ST JOHN’S, Antigua: Representatives from several Caribbean governments, regional NGOs and law enforcement agencies have conducted landmark talks in Antigua on international arms transfers, development and the Arms Trade Treaty.

According to the statement read on behalf of the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer, the prime minister wished to assure “that my government will do all in its power to support the Arms Trade Treaty in the region".

The discussions ended with a call for the United Nations to begin negotiations of an Arms Trade Treaty as soon as possible and before 2010.

The deliberations of the two-day conference centred on the social and economic impacts that armed violence was having on individual countries and on the region as a whole; the challenges to community safety; marginalisation of communities, the emerging culture of violence, and the demise of young males particularly in urban communities.

While the delegates, who included senior police representatives, arms experts and representatives from civil society, recognized that Caribbean states had the right to acquire arms for legitimate defence purposes, they were unanimous in their call to stop the flow of unregulated arms into the region.

The recommendations of the conference will be sent to the Heads of Government of CARICOM.

The Arms Trade Treaty is currently under discussion at the United Nations and, during October, states will discuss the next stage of the process.

The conference was hosted by Antigua's Civil Organisation Promoting Peace in Youth (COPPY) and endorsed by the government of Antigua and Barbuda. The other NGO partners were the Women's Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD) of Trinidad and Tobago, Oxfam and the International Action Network against Small Arms (IANSA).
Source: CNN

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