UNICEF welcomes adoption of Arms Trade Treaty as crucial step toward protecting children
NEW YORK, 2 April 2013 – UNICEF today welcomed the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty by the United Nations General Assembly as a crucial step towards protecting children by regulating the transfer of weapons from one country to another.
The lack of any consistent global oversight of the arms trade has allowed weapons to be misused on a mass scale, resulting in the widespread killing and maiming of civilians.
“The fact that the treaty makes specific reference to children and women is especially heartening,” said Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection in New York.
“The Arms Trade Treaty asks States to explicitly consider the risk that an arms transfer could facilitate serious acts of violence against women and children before allowing it to proceed. This is critical given that weapons are now one of the leading causes of death of children and adolescents in many countries, including many that are not experiencing war,” she said.
Armed violence and individual and group experiences of it differ greatly according to age and gender. Often, children are not only victims and witnesses of armed violence, but they may also be turned into perpetrators of arms-related violence.
Children endure both the direct impact and the indirect consequences of injuries to themselves or family members, including displacement, poverty and reduced access to education and healthcare.
“The challenge now will be making the Treaty work,” said Bissell. “This is the very first attempt to regulate a massive industry with global reach, yet with an impact down to the smallest communities. Thanks to the leadership of governments and the intensive involvement of civil society and the UN family we have an arms trade treaty at last.”
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