On Monday, representatives from more than 150 countries gathered at the United Nations in New York to begin negotiations on arms trade. The global arms treaty that would in effect be the first international agreement that would regulate the $70 billion arms trade is being discussed.
There are 18 Nobel Peace Prize winners that are pushing for an agreement, including the former Costa Rican president Pscar Arias. The group wrote a letter to President Obama last week trying to emphasize the importance of this treaty in promoting world peace. In the letter: “The absence of effective, legally binding international rules regulating the arms trade represents a colossal failure of the international community,” they wrote to their fellow Peace Prize laureate. “Now is the moment to right this profound injustice.”
Former president Arias won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work efforts towards a Central America peace agreement that in the end ended the civil wars in that region. He has continued to be a very outspoken advocate on global arms restriction. He spoke out last February, and he also spoke out again when he signed the letter. In his statement he said: “The challenge before us is not just to get a document signed. The challenge before us is to do justice to victims of violence. The challenge before us is to ensure that our goal becomes reality. These men and women and children deserve nothing less than swift and effective action.”
The current policy in Costa Rica has followed the wishes of Arias. Costa Rica is a member of 6 nations that supported the UN resolution in 2006, which then began the process for a global arms treaty.
The Costa Rican foreign minister, Enrique Castillo, made a statement of the following on the subject at a conference in New York: “As we begin this conference, Costa Rica is taking the floor to reaffirm their commitment to a treaty on trade and transfer that is robust, universally exhaustive, verifiable and binding, and to express our deep commitment to the work that this conference will be able to achieve.”
Castillo has also stated that Costa Rica supports durther restrictions that have not been included in the proposed treaty yet. They wish to have added the banning of the transfer of ammunition and weapons parts as well.
The US will have a big say in the treaty’s stipulations, being that it is the World’s largest arms producer. NRA CEO, Wayne LaPierre continues to vocalize disapproval of any type of global arms treatment:
“The NRA wants no part of any treaty that infringes on the precious right of lawful Americans to keep and bear arms,” LaPierre said. “We will not support any treaty that would be inconsistent with U.S. law and the rights of American citizens under our Constitution.”