(Photo: The Christian Post / Scott Liu)
NEW YORK -- The UN General Assembly passed a historic Arms Trade Treaty on Tuesday in New York, aimed at regulating the $70bn conventional arms trade business, the illegal trade of which has been blamed for millions of deaths and affected lives in developing regions.
"We owe it to those millions - often the most vulnerable in society - whose lives have been overshadowed by the irresponsible and illicit international trade in arms," said Peter Woolcott Australia's ambassador to the UN.
The U.N. member-states voted overwhelmingly in favor of the agreement, with 154 votes for the regulations, three opposed, and 23 abstentions, BBC reported. Syria, Iran and North Korea were the three nations that tried to block the treaty, while Russia and China, two of the world's biggest exporters, abstained.
The U.S. government and evangelical Christian leaders have strongly backed the treaty, which is aimed at addressing issues such as child soldiers being given weapons and being trained to kill in conflicts around the world, most notably in Africa.
The National Rifle Association has opposed the ATT and the U.S. government's involvement in it, arguing that any move regulating guns on a global basis could potentially damage Americans' 2nd Amendment rights.
"There are people who are concerned about the 2nd Amendment rights, but the treaty says that there is no regulation of domestic weapons or gun ownership or sales and so we believe that those who have those concerns need not worry. Our second amendment rights will in no way be compromised," Galen Carey, the vice president of government relations at the National Association of Evangelicals, told The Christian Post last week during a prayer event for the ATT treaty in New York.
Carey has also written an article for CP explaining why the treaty will not trample on anyone's constitutional rights.
North Korea has called the treaty "unbalanced," while Iran has called it "full of flaws and loopholes," and their objections, along with those of Syria, prevented the U.N. assembly from reaching a consensus last week.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon then sent the ATT to a vote at the General Assembly on Tuesday, where the vast majority of member states approved it.
In a follow-up email to CP, Carey described the passing of the ATT as "great news," and revealed that it will be opened for signatures on June 3 – all that is needed is for 50 countries to sign it, before it can go into effect.