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ICRC stresses need for arms trade treaty

  |   July 2, 2012 at 11:39 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, July 2 (UPI) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross said an effective arms trade treaty would go a long way to protect civilians from violations of international aw.

Representatives from more than 150 countries are meeting this month at the U.N. headquarters in an effort to draft an international arms trade treaty. A proposed treaty could set global standards for trade in conventional weapons.

Peter Herby, head of the arms division at the ICRC, said an effective international arms trade treaty would be a victory for humanitarian and non-governmental groups like his.

"Conventional weapons of every kind can be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law," said Herby in a statement. "For this reason, the treaty should cover transfers of all such weapons, and their ammunition."

The Arms Control Association, a private research company in Washington D.C., points to research from Oxfam that says more than $2.2 billion was spent by countries under arms embargoes since since 2000.

"Amazingly, there are more international laws on the trade of bananas than conventional weapons, like AK-47s," said Daryl Kimball, head of the Arms Control Association, in a statement.

Kimball's group said ongoing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria highlight the need to find common ground on the regulation of the arms trade.

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