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United Nations Signs Historical Arms Treaty

Eric Parra |
April 2, 2013 | 7:12 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

The United Nations flag (creative commons)
The United Nations flag (creative commons)
The United Nations met together on Tuesday to discuss the first UN treaty regulating international arms trade, making history in the process with an overwhelming approval of 154-to-3 vote. The vote included almost two dozen abstained countries, including China and Russia, with North Korea, Iran, and Syria voting against the treaty. 

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From The Miami Herald

"The 154-to-3 vote, which was greeted by applause and cheers in the often-staid General Assembly chamber, occurred despite concerns over human rights atrocities around the globe and objections from victims of armed conflicts in Latin America."

The treaty officially mandates countries that export weapons to have set up safeguards in hopes of preventing terrorists and organized crime groups from intercepting any trades. Among the weapons that have restrictions on them include battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, missiles and small arms. 

From The Washington Post

“Although legally binding on states that ratify it, the treaty does not establish an enforcement agency. Instead, signatories will be required to pass new laws and regulations governing their arms trade and national authorities will be responsible for enforcing them.

The United States, which co-sponsored the treaty, said U.S. agencies will review the accord before it is presented to President Obama for signature. The treaty would then require ratification by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.”

In turn, the treaty has spurred movements from passionate arms groups, such as the National Rifle Association, who believe it will weaken the 2nd Amendment gun rights in the U.S.

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Other countries feel that the treaty is disadvantageous to them. Aside from North Korea, Iran, and Syria claiming that they were being targeted through the deficiencies in the treaty, other countries like India, Egypt, and Indonesia felt that the treaty would give an unfair advantage to larger arms exporters in the world.


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