On September 23, the General Assembly of the United Nations will convene to discuss global nuclear disarmament. It is a different type of disarmament, however, that has caught the attention of a group of leaders of national organizations.
In a letter to President Obama dated August 19, representatives of 33 national religious and civil rights groups urge the president to sign the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty “without further delay.”
At an earlier meeting of the General Assembly held April 2, delegates from 153 nations — including the United States — approved the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The aim of this international agreement is to outlaw the buying, selling, owning, or transfer by civilians of firearms and ammunition.
To date, the Obama administration has not signed the treaty. In a statement to The New American, a State Department spokesman said that Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama are anxious to sign the treaty and are waiting the approval of administration attorneys who are vetting the agreement.
The text of the letter encouraging President Obama to speed up the signing process is remarkable for its misstatement of critical provisions of the ATT, as well as for its disregard for the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment:
We congratulate your Administration for helping to successfully conclude negotiations for an effective global Arms Trade Treaty earlier this year. The U.S. decision to join other leading supporters of the ATT helped overcome the consensus-blocking actions of three states and was critical to securing the overwhelming support for the treaty at the UN General Assembly on April 2. With the process of conforming the Treaty text in various languages to be resolved this month, we urge the US government to emphatically throw its support behind the treaty with your signature at the United Nations in New York in September.
Your signature would be a powerful step demonstrating the United States' commitment to preventing mass atrocities and protecting civilians from armed conflict around the globe. We also encourage you to make a strong, high-profile statement of the Treaty's value for national and international security and human rights protection at time of signature.
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Photo of United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City