With nations gathering at the UN negotiating an Arms Trade Treaty Oxfam and Amnesty are lobbying hard to get it agreed. But, as we reported last month, Campaign Against the Arms Trade questions whether a “Bullet proof” treaty is feasible. In this issue we present varying perspectives on whether the proposed treaty will prevent arms being used to commit human rights abuses or end up protecting arms exporters like the UK and arms dealers.
Arguing that an increase of imported weapons has catalyzed violence in Syria Sara Usher makes the case that “protecting innocents is impossible with an internationally accepted and promoted unregulated arms trade”. But as we go to print Ray Acheson (of WILPF’s Reaching Critical Will) (reprint from the Arms Trade Treaty Monitor) argues that the draft treaty, “as currently written would undermine the rule of law, providing loopholes and legal cover for irresponsible arms transfers.” Varsha Giywali in her monthly Unsung Heroes column sketches the career of disarmament campaigner, Binalakshmi Nepram, who has made a significant contribution in advocating small arms non-proliferation and empowering women survivors of violence to rebuild their lives in Manipur on the Burma-India border. Helen Harris reports on the Scottish Parliament’s Debate on the Arms Trade Treaty while Heather Tait reports on US activist George Lakey’s workshop at the Peace and Justice Centre on nonviolent methods of peacemaking. And Judy Russell reviews ‘The Two Worlds of Charlie F.’ an authentic tale of survival performed by soldiers who were themselves damaged by the weapons we seek to be rid of. And Brian Larkin’s editorial argues that the SNPs proposal for a future independent Scotland to join NATO while getting rid of Trident, is more than a logical contradiction, trading 160 UK nuclear weapons for US/NATO’s 5,000 plus, while in News from the Movements we report on the formation of a No to NATO coalition.