|South American homicide rates: |
The region has some of the
world's highest murder rates.
North Korea, a totalitarian dictatorship which has millions of its own people in concentration camps and threatens nuclear war to get attention; Syria, who dictator is massacring his own people; and Iran, which has also threatened to annihilate at least one of its neighbors, have blocked an arms treaty which could cut the ongoing slaughter of civilians around the world.
The arms treaty would, finally, impose some common-sense rules on the international traffic in weapons ranging from handguns to surface-to-air missiles. The treaty would, among other things, try to keep weapons out of the hands of murderous dictatorships. Maybe that's why these three regimes oppose the treaty.
The question shouldn't be whether or not to approve this treaty, but why such common-sense rules weren't created many years, civil wars and massacres ago.
|Homicides on headstones. (Photo from IPS news)|
Fortunately, the treaty could still become international law thru a vote by the General Assembly, where support appears to be overwhelming. Then, however, it will have to be signed by individual nations. Nations such as Russia and China, which have sold weapons to authoritarian regimes, will probably resist
|Assault rifles and bullets: Subjects for free trade?|
Ironically, the treaty would actually benefit the wealthy arms exporters in North America and Western Europe which already apply strict controls to their arms sales. That certainly doesn't make it right to hawk weapons to nations which lack money for food and schoolbooks, but it's a little bit less evil.
Ironically, one of gun rights' fundamentalists' strongest arguments is the supposed need for citizens to protect themselves against a tyrranical government. So, it's ironic that gun rights defenders are allying themselves with and defending the interests of exactly such dictatorial regimes, which obviously are not worried by a free trade in arms.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours