(Joyce Nima and Kjell Magne Bondevik give their handprints (Photo: Liv Hukset Wang, NCA)
Hands together for weapons controll!
World leaders take notice: the ongoing UN negotiations for an international Arms Trade Treaty provide them with a concrete opportunity to make the world a safer place, exclaimed former prime minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik together with Joyce Nima from the Uganda Joint Christian Council, earlier this week.
The two had just given their handprint at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in support of the Norwegian-initiated campaign for a strong, robust Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to be passed by the UN. In July 2012, the countries of the world will agree upon a treaty to regulate international trade in conventional weapons, and so the time has come to act.
Churches share experiences
"A strong ATT can save lives. By introducing greater control over the weapons trade, we can tackle the spiral of violence that is today destroying local communities around the world. It is an important step in our work towards ending armed violence,” said Bondevik, who heads the World Council of Churches commission for international affairs.
Local congregations around the world are often witness to the ways in which armed violence fuels insecurity, breaks up families and escalates conflicts. The churches will now send this message to world leaders when they gather at the UN.
Joyce Nima represents the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC). She underlined how important it is for her personally, that a good ATT is implemented:
”We run disarmament programmes in war-torn northern Uganda. At the same time we see how easy it is to get hold of weapons and ammunition just a short distance over the border in Southern Sudan,” she explained.
Include ammunition in a Treaty!
If a Treaty can reduce the flow of weapons accross borders, then it will already have achieved a great deal. Similarly, it is essential that ammunition be included in the Treaty; a pistol is, after all, useless without bullets.
The ATT campaign in Norway is being promoted by Norwegian Church Aid, The Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations, the Church-based Peace Platform and Changemaker.
The International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) was held from the 17- 25 May 2011 in Kingston, Jamaica.
The conference marked the conclusion of the World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence.