US, Zimbabwe vote against Arms Trade Treaty

The United States and Zimbabwe bucked the trend on Friday by voting down a resolution in favour of Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in the United Nations General Assembly.
One hundred and forty seven states, including South Africa, voted in favour of further work towards an ATT to regulate the defence industry worldwide.   
“This is an increase on the 139 states who voted to start the UN process in October 2006, showing increasing global support for the treaty,” the Control Arms campaign said in a statement.
The vote was particularly strong in Africa, South and Central America and Europe “indicating strong demand for arms control both from countries severely affected by armed violence and from major exporters”.
The campaign added that it welcomed the vote but said it would continue “to call for more urgency from states to advance the process quickly and ensure a strong Treaty with human rights and development at its heart.
“Every day, over 1000 people are killed directly with firearms and many thousands more die indirectly as a consequence of armed violence or are driven from their homes, forced off their land, raped, tortured or maimed. Since the UN process started in December 2006, approximately 695,000 people have been killed directly with firearms, illustrating the urgent need for an Arms Trade Treaty. Any further delay means more lost lives,” the campaign said.
Amnesty International spokesman Brian Wood called the US and Zimbabwean votes “shameful”, while Oxfam arms trade campaigner Anna Macdonald said the vote took the world “one step closer to turning off the running tap of irresponsible arms transfers…”
Last week several senior military officers spoke in favour of the treaty. Retired Brigadier Mujahid Alam from Pakistan blamed the illicit trade and trafficking of arms for “causing all the problems in Congo and causing all the casualties in the civilian population.
“All of the militias and illegal groups have arms. In the Democratic Republic of Congo we have a UN arms embargo, but it has proved totally ineffective. That is why an Arms Trade Treaty has become so important. An arms embargo by itself won`t deliver the goods. An ATT plus embargo would be much more effective,” he said at an Amnesty International event.