Interventions: Statements of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations
 
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Statement by H.E. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt

Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations

 Final Arms Trade Treaty Conference

United Nations Headquarters, New York

2 April 2013

 Mr. President,

   On the occasion of the adoption of this treaty, my delegation wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the overarching principles that have guided its positions at this Conference: 

·         The arms trade cannot be regarded as a legitimate economic pursuit like any other. No transfer of arms is ever to be considered morally indifferent. Such transfers require rigorous evaluation on the basis of ethical criteria founded in human dignity and the promoting of the common good.  

·         Paramount in all instances of the transfer of arms must be the duty to avoid or reduce to a minimum all human suffering and loss of life. The connection between violence and arms is more than merely incidental. The suffering of victims requires that all assistance be made available to them. 

·         Arbitrary arms transfers remain a grave threat to peace and development, particularly in poorer regions of the world. Justice and peace are the essential preconditions for genuine human development and constitute the most effective means to promote international peace and security. Accordingly, the link between disarmament and development requires that the maximum human and material resources be directed into development.

To the extent to which some of these principles find reflection in this treaty, we view its adoption as constituting a step towards establishing in the world a culture of responsibility and accountability.

While it is hoped that in it its implementation the treaty will serve to reorient the international community in accordance with the principles just mentioned, there remain in the text of the treaty considerable gaps, particularly with regard to an emphasis more on States’ prerogatives than on the dignity and human rights of people, the predominance of commercial or economic considerations, and an inadequate elaboration of the principle of sufficiency, of victims’ assistance and of the need to reduce demand for arms. Unless States establish the political, social and moral conditions that reduce the demand for arms, arms control will be of limited effect and the goal of the disarming of the illicit trade in arms will remain elusive.

Mr. President, 

My delegation also wishes to place on record its positions with regard to certain provisions in this treaty: 

·         In Article 1, my delegation understands the purpose of “reducing human suffering” to include, fundamentally, the protection of human life. 

·         The inclusion of a single type of violence alone in the text of this treaty, namely “gender-based violence”, in our estimation, constitutes a peculiar and discriminatory disservice to the innumerable victims of atrocities who are targeted on account of their ethnicity or race, as well as their political, religious or other beliefs or opinion. Any realistic assessment in terms of Article 7.4 would require, in its implementation, that all forms of violence be given consideration, regardless of their basis. 

·         The Holy See understands the term “gender” in accordance with its Interpretative Statement to the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, made in Beijing at the Fourth World Conference on Women.

 

I ask that this statement be included in the report of this meeting. 

Thank you, Mr. President.

 


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