Colum Lynch of The Washington Post is reporting that the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday voted in favor of a new and landmark international arms regulation treaty. In particular, this new legislation would regulate the sale of “a wide range of conventional weapons” to armed groups, including governments, that commit mass atrocities such as war crimes and genocide. While the vote was largely supported by advocates and countries including the U.S., it was denounced by smaller countries such as Syria, who claim these regulations will compromise their defense mechanisms.
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.
The United Nations’ 193-member assembly voted 154 to 3 to adopt the treaty. There were 23 abstentions, including from major arms traders such as China, India and Russia, as well as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are supplying weapons to opposition groups in Syria. The treaty will not go into force until 90 days after it is ratified by at least 50 member states.
Read more at The Washington Post.
This news brief was written by Kaitlin Higgins, editorial assistant for The Burton Wire.