Christian leaders representing organisations of some 90 per cent of the world’s two billion Christians have issued a joint appeal to the 194 governments currently negotiating the first global Arms Trade Treaty: Keep ammunition in the treaty.
Proposals on the negotiating table would ban arms sales for genocide, war crimes and grave human rights violations. Almost all of the 194 states involved recognise that the arms and ammunition most often used in these crimes must therefore be included in the treaty.
Churches and their members witness the human costs of unlawful armed violence every day, as victims are brought to church hospitals and church graveyards in different parts of the world. "The Arms Trade Treaty must regulate the ammunition that strikes them down," say representatives of the World Council of Churches, World Evangelical Alliance, Pax Christi International and Caritas in a joint statement issued on 20 July.
A tiny minority of countries including major powers insist that the treaty not regulate ammunition.
"There is no way ammunition can be omitted from the long-overdue regulation of a trade that has brought such suffering and death to millions of people," the church leaders declared at the half-way point in sensitive, month-long UN treaty negotiations.
The Moderator of the World Council of Churches Central Committee, the Rev. Dr Walter Altmann, is leading the ecumenical delegation at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in New York. The WCC campaign for a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty involves some 70 member churches and related organisations in 35 countries.