• Sweden's news in English

Sweden joins call for UN arms trade treaty

2 Jul 2012, 11:38

Published: 02 Jul 2012 11:38 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The appeal came as UN member states were set to launch talks later Monday in New York on drafting the first comprehensive arms trade treaty, which activists say is all the more necessary given the mounting bloodshed in Syria.

"There is a clear case for governments to act now," said Sweden's trade minister in a joint statement with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain.

"Every year, millions of people around the world suffer from the direct and indirect effects of the poorly regulated arms trade and the illicit trafficking of arms," they wrote in the statement published in European newspapers.

They said that hundreds of thousands of people were killed or injured, many were raped or forced to abandon their homes, while others lived their lives under a constant threat of violence.

"Coupled with a growth in the illicit trafficking of arms, we are facing a growing threat to humanity," they said, noting that as some of the largest exporters in Europe, their countries bore "a special responsibility in this matter".

The ministers wrote that the arms trade treaty should be legally binding, but nationally enforced.

"This will ensure the global consistency required to make the treaty effective, while maintaining state signatories' right to decide on arms transfers," they said.

The ministers also stated that they believed that the arms trade treaty should cover all types of conventional weapons, notably including small arms and light weapons, all types of munitions, and related technologies.

"It is also of great importance that the treaty includes strong provisions on human rights, international humanitarian law and sustainable development," said their statement.

Russia and China are Syria's main allies at the UN Security Council, and have routinely opposed international efforts to slap sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad's regime in the wake of a crackdown on dissent that activists say has killed over 15,800 people since March 2011.

They are set to join other governments, like Iran, that are friendly with Syria in opposing plans for the Arms Trade Treaty, which seeks to set criteria to halt the transfer of arms and other equipment that can be used against civilians or to stoke a conflict.

The United States - which produces six billion bullets a year - wants to exclude munitions from the treaty, while China does not want it to cover small arms, which it exports en masse to developing countries.

Story continues below…

According to a UN working draft, India - the world's biggest arms importer - Japan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia insist they must be free to equip their armed forces at will.

China, Russia and Arab countries say the accord's criteria are subjective and politically motivated, while South Korea does not want to hinder technology transfers.

Brian Wood, Amnesty International's arms control chief, said diplomats face an "enormous task" as they try to wrap up the accord by the end of July, and said the final text could be watered down in the interest of consensus.

If all goes well, he said the treaty could come into force in late 2013, after some three dozen countries ratify the document.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:17 July 2, 2012 by jesseblu
Double Standards! And that after its arms deal with a dictorship like Saudi Arabia. Who gets to decide which country is deservings of buying arms and what criteria do they use to make informed decisions? All weapons should be outlawed. This is the 21 centruary. Time to find a new way to resolve conflicts
13:04 July 2, 2012 by e_life
hypocrisy at its finest ?
13:14 July 2, 2012 by jayseah32
There are too many unscrupulous players in the international arms trading business with too many ties to too many governments for there to ever be an effective treaty. Any attempt is an exercise in futility, so sad to say.
01:53 July 3, 2012 by Adriano
Sweden, Britain, France and Germany are themselves armed to the teeth with the latest arsenal which they utilize irrespective of any moral constraint to pursue their national objectives. It is these very same countries including others that manufacture and sell arms to whosoever they like. What is it that they wish to regulate ? Is it so that they can have a monopoly of arms manufacturing and sales ? It is hypocritical, but they will get their way any way.
06:30 July 3, 2012 by Richard S
As an American interested in Sweden, I wonder what the official position

of the Swedish govt is related to the individual owning arms of any kind, not

just firearms. I read that in Denmark it is an infraction to even carry a small

pocketknife. Is it that way there in Sweden?
Today's headlines
Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available