by Nerina Cevra, Action on Armed Violence
The UN Secretary General in his speech to the Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has made it clear that an ATT must make a real impact on the lives of people suffering from the consequences of armed violence. Those most directly suffering these consequences are victims of armed violence.
Yet, the new discussion paper issued by the President last week has removed from the treaty the one provision that could have real impact on their lives. It was the provision asking states to commit to greater cooperation in ensuring that victims of armed violence get help in recovering from their injuries.
For every person killed by armed violence, at least ten are injured. Many are left with life-long disabilities, and physical and psychological traumas prevent them from reclaiming their lives and contributing to their communities. If this treaty is to be true to its humanitarian potential, and genuinely seeks to make a real impact in the lives of people victimized by armed violence, it must include recognition of the rights of victims of armed violence and states’ commitment to assist in their recovery and inclusion in society. It should not be an illusory reference in the preamble, but a concrete commitment in the operative part of the treaty.
The consequences of proliferation of weapons due to lack of comprehensive controls are felt most dearly by the victims of armed violence. This treaty is a step forward at addressing these unacceptable consequences. It must stay true to its purpose and not trade the needs of victims for political compromises.
For suggested language go to: aoav.org.uk
Contact: Nerina Cevra, ncevra[at]aoav.org.uk