Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heritage Foundation on the UN's "Programme of Action" on Small Arms

Theodore Bromund and David Kopel have just released a research report for the Heritage Foundation entitled "As the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty Process Begins, U.N.’s “Programme of Action” on Small Arms Shows Its Dangers".

It is a short report and well worth a read to get an idea of what the UN and the Obama Administration is up to.

As the Bromund and Kopel note:
The PoA is becoming a dangerous failure. Like many international initiatives for conventional arms control, it is being hijacked by true believers who refuse to distinguish between arms used for aggression and arms used for legitimate self-defense. As a result, the PoA’s modest potential for good is disappearing. This is a warning sign that the U.S. should heed as the Arms Trade Treaty process begins.

As long as the PoA ignores the fact that many U.N. member states approve of the transfers they pretend to condemn, the PoA—and especially a treaty based on it—will be counterproductive: It will limit the defensive arms of the law-abiding, while law-breaking states continue to supply arms to their proxies.

The U.S. should resist all efforts to turn the PoA into a treaty. If preparations for the 2012 meeting show that these efforts are continuing or that the PoA will persist in wasting time on broad, controversial, or unrelated items, the U.S. should withdraw from the PoA process. If it participates, it should keep the focus on using voluntary cooperation between law-abiding democracies to facilitate control of illicit arms trafficking.

There is also a discussion of this paper on the Volokh Conspiracy.

UPDATE: I just received this from the Second Amendment Foundation who as a NGO (Non-Government Organization) is represented at the Arms Trade Treaty talks.

The Following is an up to the minute report from Julianne Versnel, Director of Operations for the Second Amendment Foundation who is representing SAF as an NGO delegate at the United Nations ATT meeting.

The Arms Trade Treaty Prep Committee began on July 12, 2010 and will conclude on July 23, 2010. Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan of Argentina is the Chair. On Friday, July 19, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) representatives were told that the majority of the meetings would be closed to them. The critical discussions on the scope of the treaty will have no input from any non-governmental entity. Scope is critical in the Arms Trade Treaty process. In North America, some Pan Asian Countries and in some other parts of the world, the arms that we expect to have covered in this treaty are nuclear weapons. In much of Europe and most all of Africa, the delegates anticipate that the ATT will cover rifles, shotguns, handguns and ammunition as well.

There appears little doubt that some sort of treaty will be adopted by 2014, if not by 2012. It is anticipated that the final treaty will attempt to register all firearms, require micro-stamping, destruction of surplus ammunition on a very set schedule, registration of all firearms and restriction on any transfer of arms including between private individuals and many other restrictions. If the United States is a signatory and this is ratified by the U.S. Senate, this UN treaty would be the law. On October 30, 2009, UN members voted in favor of an ATT. The United States voted in favor of an ATT.

The UN has an aggressive schedule of meetings planned to push for these restrictions and we will be there representing you in every way we can. We will be at the CTOP/COP meeting in Vienna the week of October 18 and a General Assembly meeting at the end of October. In January, the five permanent members of the Security Council will meet and this is on the agenda. There will be another ATT Preparatory meeting at the end of February in New York. The regional UNIDIR meeting sponsored by the EU will start in March. We will come full circle with the Programme of Action Experts Meeting in May 2011 and the July 17-21 ATT Preparatory meeting that is expected to offer the final draft to the treaty.

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