Activists: Draft UN arms trade treaty full of holes

July 25, 2012 01:52

UNITED NATIONS - The first draft of a UN treaty to regulate the $60 billion global arms trade was slammed on Tuesday by activists as having "more holes than a leaky bucket" as negotiators scramble to reach a consensus by Friday.

One person every minute dies from armed violence around the world, and arms control activists say a convention is needed to prevent illicitly traded guns from pouring into conflict zones and fueling wars and atrocities. Conflicts in Syria and elsewhere show a treaty is necessary, they add.

"Our concern with this text is that at the moment it has more holes than a leaky bucket," Anna Macdonald, head of arms control at Oxfam, told reporters. "And if these holes are not closed we won't end up with a treaty that saves lives."

After losing the first week of the month-long negotiations to procedural wrangling, delegations from around the world now only have three days left to work on the delayed draft text before a possible vote. The treaty must be approved unanimously, so any one country can effectively veto a deal.

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