Oxfam presses for weapons treaty

July 3, 2012 at 1:12 PM

UNITED NATIONS, July 3 (UPI) -- Unregulated trafficking in weapons and ammunition is fueling some of the worst crises in the Middle East and Africa, an Oxfam official said.

International delegates are gathered this month at U.N. headquarters in New York to discuss prospects for a global arms trade treaty. The BBC reports the U.S. government, the largest arms exporter in the world, has embraced the effort.

Most of the members of the United Nations support the treaty, though some members such as China have expressed concern about the scope of the measure.

Anna MacDonald, director of the arms control campaign at Oxfam, said unregulated weapons are fueling some of the worst global conflicts.

"From Congo to Libya, from Syria to Mali, all have suffered from the unregulated trade in weapons and ammunition allowing those conflicts to cause immeasurable suffering and go on far too long," she told the BBC. "In the next few weeks, diplomats will either change the world or fail the world."

The broadcaster adds the global weapons trade is a $65 billion-per-year industry. At least 750,000 people are killed by illegal weapons each year.

Advocacy groups note there are more international regulations regarding the trade of fruit than there are weapons.

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