| Thursday, February 08, 2007
| Weapon of mass destruction: keep out of the reach of children
This Reuters' article talks about France leading a "global push to protect child soldiers". Apparently, this is the first time that "states are solemnly committing themselves to applying and respecting the principles of the struggle against the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict," according to the French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy.
Fair enough! But what's the point of foaming at the mouth without addressing the issue of arms trade mainly originating from countries such as France?
Small arms, particularly the ubiquitous AK47, are the real weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century. They are responsible for more deaths than any other, especially in Africa. AK-47s are too cheap and too available in places like the Horn of Africa (Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia), the pastoralist areas of East Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the oil-rich Delta Region of Nigeria. Something must be done to control the supply of small arms whose lucrative source is primarily the five permanent members of the Security Council, the networks of arms brokers who get them to the trouble spots of Africa, and the poverty and unemployment that provide willing hands to use them.(Source)
If this is the case, then what is France doing about "pushing" the EU to put in place tighter regulations on arms brokers, the “middle (boogie) man", to stop the lethal trade that’s maiming African’s? Wouldn’t it make (humanitarian) sense for the EU to regulate arms trade with the same fervor as it does, say, bananas?
Cases of dodgy arms trades are galore. Just here, one can find a list of suppliers to African countries. And here you read the implications of corruption cover up by leaders like Tony Blair on Africa. The easily and cheaply available small arms in the hands of warlords and unruly governments are the culprits for the mess in Africa. Add a deadly lack of international arms regulations to the mess, and you have a hopeless case at hand.
The United Nations and the nation-states into which the world is currently organized, he warns, are systemically incapable of stopping the warlord rule and growing chaos in Africa -- a political state of affairs not seen since the 17th century. Regulating arms brokers -- or "middlemen" -- is key to stemming these wars, Peleman says, and will be one of the main challenges in controlling the global movement of small arms for the foreseeable future. (Source)
So, here is a homework for France if it really wants to help African children from raising arms instead of going to school and being kids. Control the arms from your side and you can easily slash the number of child soldiers in Africa. Meanwhile, Amnesty International, OXFAM et al should keep the pressure on African leaders.
If France cannot pull this off or does not have the political will, then they might as well stick a warning on each AK47, like a bottle of medicine, reading KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN and hope for the best. I'm sure somebody somewhere is going to fight this small sacrifice. Just look at what anti-gun lobbyist in the US are up against to only have something as sensible as putting child-locks on guns.
Campaign Against Arms Trade
Oxfam’s briefing paper
Amnesty International challenging African nations to be serious about arms trade treaty
International Action Network on Small Arms
UN Institute for Disarmament Research. This sounds like one of those teethless UN institutions with a fancy name.
|posted by Fikirte @ 12:25 PM