Press Release
 
The Holy See Calls for States to Adopt a Human-Centered Arms Trade Treaty
3/25/2013
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The Holy See Calls for States to Adopt a Human-Centered Arms Trade Treaty

New York, NY, March 25, 2013 –  In these last four days of deliberations of the United Nations Conference on the Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty –  to prohibit the transfer of arms when violations of humanitarian or human rights law are taking place -  the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and the Holy See’s Head of Delegation to the Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, His Excellency Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, urges delegations to work together in a consensual manner to achieve a historic treaty to control the international trade in arms.

Since the  start of negotiations, the Holy See has  called for “a strong, effective and credible Arms Trade Treaty which will have a real and lasting impact on all people longing to live in a more secure and safe world.”  Throughout this process the Holy See Delegation has been active in promoting a treaty which places the human person as the overriding consideration. 

The Holy See has stressed that a responsible international arms trading system should provide strong protections against the transfer of arms to countries where such arms are being used against civilian populations in violation of internationally agreed humanitarian and human rights laws.  Further, the Holy See has urged delegations to reorient the regulation of the trade in arms from one which is controlled through the lens of sheer economic interests to one which places overriding importance on human concerns and protecting human life and families.

While pressing for a forward looking and “future-proof” Arms Trade Treaty, the Holy See in its interventions has called for States to adhere to the legal principle of expressio unius est exclusio alterius (i.e. inclusion of one thing implies the exclusion of another), and thus consistently spoken out against selecting  one group or type of violence in the text. Proposals to specifically mention “gender-based violence”, the Holy See delegation asserted, risk serving to exclude a vast number of victims of armed violence from protection by the treaty.  The Holy See has therefore argued that protections for women, men, children, families, disabled, elderly, refugees, migrants, internally displaced people, ethnic and religious minorities, and all other internationally protected categories of people are more comprehensively addressed by the provisions in the treaty which prohibit the transfer of arms where human rights and humanitarian law are being violated.

The United Nations Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty is scheduled to conclude negotiations on 28 March 2013 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

For more information about the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See
to the United Nations, please visit www.holyseemission.org.

New York, 25 March 2013


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