Preamble United Nations Arms Trade Treaty:
We Three Kings
Dear States Parties to this Treaty,
The purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations seek to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security. We, Syria, Iran, and North Korea are taking one last shot at getting our views across by writing over your Treaty’s preamble.
Therefore, you all, who feel you are so high and mighty, feel the need to underline the need to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and to prevent their diversion to the illicit market, or for unauthorized end use and end users, including in the commission of terrorist acts.
We can underline too! You worldly nations seem to think we don’t recognize the legitimate political, security, economic and commercial interests of States in the international trade in conventional arms because we oppose the UN draft of the Arms Treaty Trade. If you claim to reaffirm the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system, then how come we feel this clause doesn’t apply to us? Ok, we know we don’t have the best reputation for acknowledging that peace and security, development and human rights are pillars of the United Nations system and foundations for collective security and recognizing that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, but we’re not being treated fairly!
Opposing the draft, we will attempt to black the consensus needed for passage of this Treaty, even though we’ve been negotiating it for years. Even though we had seven years to hash this thing out, we do not feel that enough time or attention have been given to our concerns.
Listening to other countries like India talk about how they felt the Treaty favor exporters and Russia talk about their reservations about the specificity of banning conventional weapons to non-state actors…
Understanding we belong to the Nonaligned Movement (NAM) along with 117 other members, and as most of the NAM members back the Treaty too, we think its unfair to have our group members take a stand to publically express disappointment in our decision.
Recalling India’s reservations, the Iranians feel that the right of importing states to acquire arms for their own security is subjective and we would be left to the hands and rulings of the exporting states.
The United Nations Disarmament Commission Guidelines fails to note that the wording of this Treaty will leave the sale of conventional weapons susceptible to discrimination, manipulation, and politicization.
Noting the contribution made by the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, as well as the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons, we aren’t forgetting that there will still be a way around this Treaty, yes? Money talks. Take a look at the NRA in the USA, the President can’t ratify this Treaty because the NGO NRA can sit and listen to all our discussions and go back and tell their senators what they want. Guess what? They don’t want this treaty either.
Recognizing the security, social, economic and humanitarian consequences of the illicit and unregulated trade in conventional arms,
Bearing in mind that civilians, particularly women and children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict and armed violence,
Recognizing also the challenges faced by victims of armed conflict and their need for adequate care, rehabilitation and social and economic inclusion…
Attempting to read that again clearly because didn’t that just talk about humanitarian consequences? What about the humanitarian consequences of the arms that are listed on your registry? And what is this about women and children and the affect armed conflict and violence has on them? One word: Palestine.
Emphasizing that nothing in this Treaty prevents States from maintaining and adopting additional effective measures to further the object and purpose of this Treaty, so can you explain how this applies to occupied territories? I mean, they aren’t really states because the citizens don’t have any rights…
Mindful of the legitimate trade and lawful ownership, and use of certain conventional arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities, where such trade, ownership and use are permitted or protected by law, but wait, hold on, because one of our biggest problems is the Treaty does not ban sales of weapons to groups that commit act so of aggression. We would say these would account for rebel groups…
Mindful also of the role regional organizations can play in assisting States Parties, upon request, in implementing this Treaty, now come on, that looks great on paper but Syria wants to know why you didn’t put in a clause specifically regarding an embargo on delivering weapons to non-state actors and terrorist armed groups?
Recognizing the voluntary and active role that civil society, including non-governmental organizations, and industry, can play in raising awareness of the object and purpose of this Treaty, and in supporting its implementation, now we understand this is the pot calling the kettle black but really are all these other nations ratifying this treaty known to give their citizens an active role in society? [Be quiet, N. Korea, we know that doesn’t help your case…or yours either Assad…]
Acknowledging that regulation of the international trade in conventional arms and preventing their diversion should not hamper international cooperation and legitimate trade in materiel, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes, peace: we understand what you want but this isn’t just a matter of peaceful cooperation! This is about the $$$! This is about economics and trade and whether or not this Treaty is equal for exporters and importers because that’s why we gave you trouble. We all know who is going to get the arms, sell the arms, and who is going to get blocked from getting arms…
Emphasizing the desirability of achieving universal adherence to this Treaty, is it really that surprising that we, three kings: Iran, Syria, and North Korea tried to block this treaty?