It’s Easier to Sell a Gun Than a Banana (what would The Doctor think?)
Globalization has many side effects. Like anything of magnitude, some parts are positive, and others are not. The important thing to remember is that it is happening, has been happening for a long time, and that it isn’t going to go away any time soon. Whether you like it or not, globalization is a fact of our future, and we have to shape our world to accommodate that fact.
“As incredible as this may seem, we have the most cumbersome rules on selling bananas and MP3 players, but no solid, internationally-binding rules on arms trade.”~Oxfam International
Yep, that’s right, there are no legally binding laws that control arms trade on an international level. The national controls don’t do much good on an international level, and the result is that is has become extremely easy for less-than-humane groups to get hold of weaponry. Oxfam estimates that 2000 people die per day due to unregulated arms control. That’s almost one person a minute–and it doesn’t include people who are injured, maimed, forced to flee their homes, or live under constant threat due to these weapons.
As if this wasn’t enough, the arms trade is closely linked with poverty in many countries. It is estimated that armed violence costs Africa more more than eighteen-billion dollars a year, which is roughly the same amount of money that is put into developmental aid for the entire continent.
As the world becomes more interconnected, these problems are getting worse. Parts for these weapons are created in many different countries, meaning that no one country may be directly responsible, and as a result, the domestic arms control measures are woefully inefficient. Fortunately, there is a answer. Oxfam International has teamed with ControlArms.org, and many other groups, to demand an international arms agreement that would help to stem the violence
“The Treaty must be an international, legally binding instrument based on States’ existing obligations under international law. It must be properly implemented to reduce the human cost associated with the uncontrolled trade in conventional weapons and ammunition. It must establish binding criteria for analyzing international arms transfers on a case-by-case basis, and clearly determine when an arms transfer is prohibited.” ~Oxfam International
Although such a treaty has been discussed for many years, this July it may actually happen. The United Nations Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty will be taking place July 2-27 at the UN Headquarters in New York City. The purpose of this conference will be to create just such a treaty, and it is to be hoped that the outcome will change the face of unregulated arms control, and save many lives in the process.
To learn more about this issue, and what you can do to help, check out Oxfam’s site, and sign the petition. International treaties are notoriously complicated and difficult to create, but it’s time to stand up and tell all governments that if they can regulate trade on bananas and MP3 players, they can do it for guns and grenades too.
And seriously, remember when the Doctor blew up an arms factory and planted a banana grove? What would he think of this state of affairs? Makes me a bit nervous just thinking about it.