Every year, more than 500,000 people are killed as a result of armed violence, armed conflict and human rights violations. These tragic numbers include victims of genocide, child soldiers and innocent civilians.

Despite the fact that illegal arms continue to contribute to countless atrocities around the world, there is still no comprehensive regulation of the global arms trade. Final negotiations of a global Arms Trade Treaty will seek to address this lethal vacuum in March.

United to End Genocide along with 36 other organizations, just signed a letter addressed to President Obama encouraging him to support the Arms Trade Treaty and advocate for the treaty to include provisions that:

1. Ban Arms for Atrocities:

Ensure that the treaty prohibits arms transfers that will aid and abet the world’s worst crimes.

2. Assesses Human Rights:

Require arms exporting states undertake a rigorous assessment of human rights risks before transferring arms overseas.

3. Include Ammunition:

Include ammunition within the scope of the treaty. The United States already licenses the import and export of ammunition, codifying it in the treaty will obligate other nations to adhere to the same strict standards.

As the final negotiations for an effective Arms Trade Treaty conclude at the United Nations Conference in March, President Obama has the responsibility and obligation to convince Arms Trade Treaty negotiators to strengthen the wording of the treaty in order to keep the weapons that kill out of the hands of war criminals and genocide perpetrators.

As the largest arms exporter in the world, the United States has an obligation not only to support the Arms Trade Treaty but to make it as strong as possible to keep weapons out of the hands of the world’s worst dictators and human rights abusers.

Upon finding delays in construction at a ski-jumping complex, Russian President Vladimir Putin acted quickly to fire the deputy head of Russia’s Olympic Committee. If only he would express such anger and act so quickly to stop the ongoing slaughter in Syria.

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Atmeh displaced persons camp, Syria (Photo: Mouaz Mustafa)

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