Magazine article The Christian Century

Faith Groups Work with UN to Limit Arms Trade

Magazine article The Christian Century

Faith Groups Work with UN to Limit Arms Trade

Article excerpt

Religious and peace groups have offered qualified praise for a recent non-binding United Nations agreement on small arms that they say takes a step in efforts to curb the trade in illicit weapons.

A weeklong conference at the UN in New York ended July 18 with 134 nations agreeing to recommendations that would stipulate the marking of small arms at the point of manufacture in order to facilitate the tracing of them. The gathering also agreed on recommendations to strengthen the management of state-run arsenals, from which arms are often smuggled.

"Today's agreement is a significant step forward for the international effort to tackle the illicit gun trade," Rebecca Peters, director of the London-based International Action Network on Small Arms, said in a postconference statement.

However, peace advocates have noted that the document does not address the problem of ammunition, nor does it oblige countries to mark firearms at the point of import, which IANSA said "would significantly increase the effectiveness of tracing."

James Cairns, the program director of Religions for Peace, a New York-based interfaith coalition, and Allison Pytlak, a disarmament specialist with the group, both characterized the final result as a "mild outcome. …

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