Christian leaders representing organizations comprising some 90 percent of the world’s two billion Christians have issued a joint appeal to the 194 governments currently negotiating the first global Arms Trade Treaty to have it include ammunition, according to a news release form the World Council of Churches (WCC).
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 recognize that the arms and ammunition most often used in these crimes must therefore be included in the treaty, notes the release.
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,” said representatives of the WCC, World Evangelical Alliance, Pax Christi International, and Caritas in a joint statement issued July 20.
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 United Nations treaty negotiations.
The moderator of the WCC Central Committee, the Rev. Walter Altmann, is leading the ecumenical delegation at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in New York City. The WCC campaign for a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty involves some 70 member churches and related organizations in 35 countries.