Who are we?

Vision GRAM International (Group Against the Marginalization) is an organization of human rights organizations affiliated with the GRAM-Kivu Project, which works to promote and protect the rights of vulnerable people (women and children) in particular and the person in general. The vision of the organization (Project GRAM-Kivu/RD Congo) began in 1996 when conflicts tore through the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa and ​​millions of people were killed, displaced and injured because of the illegal trafficking of minerals and the proliferation of small arms. There are massive violations of human rights ongoing in this region and the world has stood by and watched without action.

Vision GRAM International was established in Canada in 2007 with a broad vision and desire for a global movement to end the marginalization, poverty, exploitation and social injustices going on in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Vision GRAM International contributes to the promotion of human rights for every person worldwide.  We will fight against injustice and support conflict prevention, working with our Canadian partners and other partners around the world on issues and problems related to the rights of the people, especially women and children who are most affected by armed conflict. We will fight against the effects caused by small arms and small armed conflict.


The Hard work continues!

Eric Niragira, Founder and Executive Director of CEDAC talks about his important work in Burundi and what he is doing to change lives everyday. Mr. Niragira has partnered his organization with Vision Gram International in order to work on issues of importance to both groups in Central Africa!

The DRC Intervention Brigade… The debate on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

17 Apr 2013 – Story by Job Shipululo Amupanda

ON Thursday, March 28 2013, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), for the first time in the UN history, gave a blank cheque to a Special Unit, termed ‘Intervention Brigade’, to launch an offensive and go after the rebels in the eastern DRC. The unit can pursue the rebels by itself or together with DRC military. It will exist and form part of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) with the objectives including neutralizing and disarming the M23 rebels and other rebel formations. Undoubtedly aware of this noteworthy departure from orthodox UN peacekeeping, the UNSC is immaculate in that the resolution is invoked “on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent or any prejudice to the agreed principles of peacekeeping.

Much of the scholarship of Political Science, International Relations (IR) and Foreign Policy has already placed this development under critical enquiry and indeed subjected it to the unforgiving pens and lenses of political analysis. Part of IR sees the Intervention Brigade in the context of what the UN Peacekeeping/Peacemaking/Peacebuilidng discourse terms The Responsibility to Protect. We will explore this concept herein.

The Responsibility to Protect, popularly known as the R2P, has received much attention in peacemaking, especially at the beginning of the 21st century. Between 1999 and 2000, the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appealed to the international community to find ways of how events such as the Rwandan genocide and other systematic human rights violations can be avoided and handled in future. In response, the Canadian government announced, to the 2000 UN General Assembly, that it had established the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) to take up that responsibility and subsequently produced a report to the UN Secretary General (ICISS, 2001). This report, titled The Responsibility to Protect, made the following recommendations to the General Assembly, Security Council and Secretary-General:

“That the General Assembly adopt a draft declaratory resolution embodying the basic principles of the responsibility to protect, and containing four basic elements: an affirmation of the idea of sovereignty as responsibility; an assertion of the threefold responsibility of the international community of states – to prevent, to react and to rebuild – when faced with human protection claims in states that are either unable or unwilling to discharge their responsibility to protect; … That the members of the Security Council should consider and seek to reach agreement on a set of guidelines, embracing the ‘Principles for Military Intervention’ summarized in the Synopsis, to govern their responses to claims for military intervention for human protection purposes … The Commission recommends to the Secretary-General: That the Secretary-General give consideration, and consult as appropriate with the President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly, as to how the substance and action recommendations of this report can best be advanced in those two bodies, and by his own further action” (ICISS, 2001, 74-75).

In an interview with UN News Centre on August 01 2011, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, Edward Luck, discusses the genesis of the R2P. He argues that the R2P is a concept “agreed to by all the heads of state and government at the World Summit in 2005. They pledged that they would prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity for all the populations on their territory and that they would also prevent the incitement of those crimes … And if the state fails, in a manifest way, to protect populations, then the international community is to take timely and decisive action in response to try to offer protection to the threatened populations” (UN News Centre, 2011).

The R2P is the same concept rallied upon by western countries in mobilising the UN to intervene in Libya. As Edward Luck corroborates: “I think it was quite an important precedent, both in resolution 1970 that talked about sanctions and referring [Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi] and some of his people to the International Criminal Court and then in resolution 1973, that talked about all necessary measures to protect populations – both of those invoked the responsibility to protect” (UN News Centre, 2011).

The R2P does not only exist at the level of the UN. According to the 2008 report of the Institute for Global Policy’s Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society project, the responsibility to protect is also upheld by the AU’s Peace and Security Commission and SADC’s Organ on Politics Defence and Security.

The report consolidates that:  The African Union Peace and Security architecture has the following components that relate to R2P’s three elements of prevention, reaction and rebuilding: 1. Continental Early Warning System 2. Peace and Security Council; supported by quiet diplomacy of the AU chairperson; 3. Panel of the Wise: composed of 5 highly respected personalities, devoted to prevention, supposedly free of political pressure; 4. Stand-by force to intervene if the above fails 5. Post-conflict reconstruction unit within Peace and Security Council …The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has a relevant Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security which allows the organ to intervene in situations of intra/inter state conflicts. (Institute for Global Policy, 2008)

Like any report in the social sciences, the ICISS report and the R2P doctrine have been subjected to various criticisms. Downes (2004) argues that the report avoided questions on how to differentiate interventions that are genuinely humanitarian inspired and those that are termed humanitarian for mere military offensives to achieve the goals of the big powers. For Welsh, Thielking & MacFarlane (2002:511-512): The significance of the commission’s report lies more in the realm of advocacy than analysis. Its treatment of a broad range of issues related to the responsibility to protect (prevention, criteria for intervention, mandates, command, rebuilding) reflects international politics as the commissioners think it should be rather than as it is. The ICISS does not fully recognise that international politics remains a web of contending normative principles and contingent political interests.

Taking the desirability of protection as given, what we need now is a better sense of how to get from where we are to where we want to be.

Falk (2000), like Downes (2004), argues that the R2P and its humanitarian language would fit to be a justification and a tool, by big powers in the UN Security Council, to achieve foreign policy goals while Mamdani (2009) adds that while the responsibility to protect might appear as an act by the international community sanctioned by the UN through the Security Council, it is merely a reinforcement and justification of wars by the permanent members of the Security Council that are the great powers.

In light of the above, the Namibian intelligentsia must closely monitor and debate the DRC Intervention Brigade.

• Job Shipululo Amupanda holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Stellenbosch. He is the Executive Director of Perfect Politics Consulting (PPC), a think tank consulting on Politics, Research and Development.

Email: shipululo@perfectpolitics.com


‘Africans want to lead a peaceful and progressive life’ ~ Interview with Brigadier General Mujahid Alam

“On both missions I observed the complete lack of strict regulation of the arms trade, due to which both DRC and Kosovo had huge proliferation of illegal arms.” – Retired Pakistani Brigadier General Mujahid Alam

By: Jennifer Fierberg

Retired Pakistani Brigadier General Mujahid Alam
Retired Pakistani Brigadier General Mujahid Alam

(NEW YORK) – While in New York City at the United Nations covering the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations, I had the amazing opportunity to interview Retired Pakistani Brigadier General Mujahid Alam on his role in the negotiations and how a strong Arms Trade Treaty could affect Central Africa. General Alam spent fifteen years in Central Africa and wrote a very moving pieceupon his return about how his life was forever changed by his work there. He attended the negotiations as a consultant/expert with Amnesty International exclusively for the negotiations.

Retired Pakistani Brigadier General Mujahid Alam, a former UN Peacekeeper in the DRC who took part in an International Commission of Inquiry into the arms supplies to the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda genocide spoke with this writer exclusively regarding the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations at the UN at the end of March 2013 and its potential impact on the region. He also served on the UN Peacekeeping missions in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Kosovo and had the following to say about Arms Trade treaty issues facing these regions, “On both missions I observed the complete lack of strict regulation of the arms trade, due to which both DRC and Kosovo had huge proliferation of illegal arms.”

During the ten day negotiation period General Alam took time from his busy schedule to speak with this writer. His answers are summarized below:

JF: I know we are here to speak about the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations but I have to ask you a few questions about your time in DRC and Rwanda if you don’t mind. You were part of the International Commission of Inquiry into Arms supplies to the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide. What was the most surprising detail you discovered in this process?

BGMA: This commission was established by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 1995. At the time thousands has fled Rwanda to Eastern DRC, Tanzania and Burundi. There were persistent reports that ex-FAR and Interahamwe were regrouping, retraining and re-arming in these camps in order to overthrow the Tutsi Government. The commission was appointed to fact find on these allegations. Four reports were reproduced in one year confirming that the ex-FAR was indeed training and obtaining arms from 3rd party sources in Europe and South Africa. In these reports we made suggestions to move the Rwandan refugees further inland away from the border for their own protection and for the protection of the civilians in DRC. Unfortunately the UNSC took no action and war erupted in 1996. Two more reports were produced in 1997 with more recommendations to the UNSC stating that much of the trouble in the Eastern DRC was originating from neighboring governments by their directives and financial support. At this time the government of the DRC failed to exert authority over Eastern DRC and failed to train their army to defend their country. This issue still exists today. Due to the lack of military authority any foreign power is able to interfere in DRC. The natural resources belong to the people of the Congo and should be spent on them; instead these minerals are being exploited internally and externally.

Rwanda’s poor

JF: Do you believe that trust will ever be possible between Rwanda and the DRC? Trust not only at the government level but also on a personal relations level on the ground?

BGMA: In order for Rwanda and DRC to learn to trust each other Rwanda needs to make an honest and sincere pledge not to interfere in the affairs of the DRC and the DRC has to stop providing sanctuary to the FDLR nor providing them with weapons and allowing them to operate with impunity. This trust can only be built if foreign powers are prepared to use their clout to impose pressure on these two countries. The Rwandan government only listens to America and Britain where DRC appears to focus on the French, Britain, America, China and South Africa. The self-capacity of the DRC is low and a lead country has to take interest or the Congolese will continue to suffer. It is the women, children and elderly who suffer the most. I have witnessed this suffering with my own eyes. The international community has miserably failed the Eastern DRC population and the suffering there is incomprehensible and horrific.

JF: The development in Rwanda has been remarkable since the 1994 Genocide. There is no disputing that fact. But, is this development sustainable under the current conditions in Central Africa?

BGMA: Rwanda has made tremendous strides in the areas of development and infrastructure but unless the cycle of violence stops in Central Africa then no, development in the region is not sustainable. Rwanda’s economy depends greatly on the minerals mined in the DRC. Therefore, peace in DRC means peace in Rwanda and both countries will benefit from sustained development when peace is the order of the day. Uganda, Burundi and the whole of the Central African region will benefit from this peace.

JF: There are nineteen years of reports stating Rwanda is meddling in the DRC and is the source of instability there. The UNSC acknowledges these reports yet does nothing to act on the recommendations they offer. Why is that?

BGMA: That question needs to be asked of the US government. The question needs to be why isn’t there a bigger interest in this region at the cost of human suffering? 1500 people die a week of hunger and hunger related diseases in Central Africa. The Congolese are not at all aggressive and just want peace, to live and to go to school. But, it is unfair to only single out Rwanda in the destabilization of the DRC. Uganda and other countries such as Kenya and Tanzania are all benefitting from this chaos. The majority of the blame must be on the Congolese government. They have failed to provide adequate governance and security. It is not impossible for the Congolese government to train and equip a strong military force that can defend North and South Kivu from external actors. But, the Congolese military, as it stands today, does not receive salary or rations yet are well supplied in weapons to loot, plunder and rape the civilian population. The biggest perpetrator of chaos in this region are the Congolese soldiers themselves. They are preying on their own people and this chaos allows external actors to come in and plunder with impunity. The Congo is so very rich with potential in minerals, forestry, water and land and these resources could be a powerhouse for the whole of the African continent but this is not happening because of the internal and externally inflicted chaos.


JF: You presented your finding to the UNSC but stated that your recommendations when unheeded. Who ignored these recommendations and why?

BFMA: The UNSC agreed with the findings but never followed up on the recommendations.

JF: How did the local governments react to your findings?

BFMA: There was some negative reaction because of the people named being close to the governments involved. Some of the governments submitted contrary reports but none came up with solid evidence that would compel us to retract our findings.

JF: Lets shift topic’s to the reason we are here this week the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations. There has been a consistent stonewall in the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations by the US and Canada regarding the inclusion of ammunitions in the treaty. If ammunition is not included how do you feel this will affect the implementation of the treaty?

BGMA: The US and Canada are not specifically blocking the ammunition issue but it is not worded and included in the way NGO’s want it to be. We believe the Arms Trade Treaty is too soft on many issues. We were close to finalizing a treaty last July but the US election stalled the process. The US government wants a treaty just not as strong as the NGO’s would like for it to be. Many countries feel this way. I personally favor a strong and effective treaty but many delegations say they want a treaty that is achievable, not what is ideal.

JF: The issue of diversions in the treaty also appears to be weak. In your experience in the DRC and Rwanda how has central Africa suffered due to the issue of diversions?

BGMA: Central Africa has suffered greatly because of the issue of diversions. Many small arms are in the hands of rebels today as a result of this lack of regulation. No one is held accountable and there are no paper trails in order to track these arms and their dealers. This issue must be included in a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty and we are putting pressure on specific states and countries in order for this to happen.

JF: Which countries are you lobbying on this issue of diversions?

BGMA: Mostly the European country such as Finland, Norway, UK and France but more support is needed. We are also meeting with African countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and others. These countries have been receptive so far bilaterally but in the conference room it tends to get watered down in the negotiations.

JF: How would a strong Arms Trade Treaty affect Central Africa?

BGMA: Personally, with my 14-15 years of experience working in this region I believe a strong and effective treaty will be of tremendous benefit to reduce the scale and intensity of the ongoing conflict. This effectiveness would not be immediate but being pragmatic it will unfold over a number of years and slowly chock the supply of illegal weapons to rebel and militia groups. It would also hold involved countries accountable and creating a paper trail will not allow for the denial of the reality of the situation regarding illegal arms.

JF: The current draft of the treaty and fears for the final draft are that there will be no mention of Gender Based Violence or the mention of Child Soldiers. Should this be included in the Arms Trade Treaty?

BGMA: I believe so. Many governments are known for using child soldiers and not stopping gender based violence should be sanctioned. Government who continue these practices should be forced to take strict action or should face strong sanctions.

JF: On the first day of the negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty we saw Bosco Ntaganda surrender to the US embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. Many people are pondering why he would turn himself into the US embassy. Did this move surprise you and what are your thoughts on why he chose the US Embassy?

BGMA: This move on the part of Ntaganda surprised me tremendously. Just a few months ago he was leading the rebel forces and now he is at the ICC. Frankly, I do not know the reason he chose the US embassy but would love to and also I would like to know why he chose now to do this. One explanation could be that Kigali has exerted pressure on him due to the criticism on them regarding the M23 just as they received regarding Laruent Nkunda.

JF: You have a great deal of experience in Central Africa and specifically Rwanda. There has been much speculation as to whether or not President Paul Kagame will leave power in 2017 or run for office again. Do you believe his decision either way will have any effect on peace in Central Africa?

BGMA: Only he can make that decision. The International Community should start to engage Rwanda, DRC, Burundi and Uganda in a serious way in order for a smooth transition to occur should he decide to do so and for peace and security to be the primary goal of this transition. The biggest fallout has been the ongoing ethnic hatred in both Rwanda and DRC. Until these ethnic tensions are resolved no peace can be achieved and the dangerous trend of instability will continue.

JF: Some of the early RPF top members have fled Rwanda and built their own party called the Rwanda National Congress. Do you believe this specific political party could be effective and trusted among the people of Rwanda even though they have been former close comrades of Paul Kagame?

BGMA: I believe they want to do something positive for Rwanda but they cannot have a party inside the country. They have a strong following and many supporters. I know Kayumba and Karegeya and I have seen their support base but for their own safety they have to remain outside of the country which makes organizing their party a challenge for them.

JF: My final question for you General is what are your hopes for the outcome of the Arms Trade Treaty?

BGMA: I would say I am cautiously optimistic for the outcome of these negotiations. I am fairly sure we will get a treaty but not as strong and effective as we would like to see. We believe that it will be a good base that can be built upon but it would be many years down the road and not in the immediate future.


The treaty negotiations continued for a week after this interview ending in the UNGA having to vote for the passing of the treaty.

On April 2, 2013 the Arms Trade Treaty was adopted with a final vote of 154 voting yes, 3 voting no and 23 abstentions.

The adoption of this treaty was historic and sets up new international law with clear rules and guidelines for all global transfers of weapons and ammunition’s.

I contacted General Alam to get his opinion of the final adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty to which he responded,

    “I definitely wanted a much stronger treaty but one has to be realistic and see what is achievable now rather than to sabotage the whole treaty. I hope the weaknesses in the ATT would be realized during implementation phase and it will be strengthened in the years to come.”

Source: Salem-news.com

Arms trade treaty may point a way forward for the U.N.

By Anna Macdonald

For years governments told us in meetings that an Arms Trade Treaty was a fanciful idea – merely a twinkle in our campaigning eye. But earlier this month an Arms Trade Treaty was adopted by an overwhelming majority at the United Nations General Assembly. Thanks to the democratic process, international law will for the first time regulate the $70 billion global arms trade.

When we launched the Control Arms campaign more than a decade ago, only Mali, Costa Rica and Cambodia were prepared to publicly stand with us in demanding the treaty.

But things started to change.

Dogged perseverance, growing recognition that the arms trade was out of control and a campaign around the world began to pay off. The UK government’s announcement of support in 2004 was a turning point; many other major arms exporters followed suit. By 2005, more than 50 countries supported the idea.

Crucially, in 2006 the ATT process itself began inside the U.N. at the General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and Security. A resolution, introduced by seven core governments (Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Japan, Finland and the UK) and vigorously advocated for by the Control Arms Coalition, gained more than 100 co-sponsors. The resolution passed in a landslide votein the General Assembly, 153 to 1 (the U.S. was the no vote), with 24 abstentions.

Had the process been launched in the consensus-bound Conference on Disarmament in Geneva ‑ currently in its 12th year of meeting without even being able to agree an agenda ‑ chances are it would never have left the starting blocks.

Many U.N. processes are deeply frustrating. The most common complaint is how long it takes to get things done. Sometimes,  agreement is never reached.

The requirement to reach consensus is in principle a means of protecting the rights and voices of even the smallest countries. It’s what can enable small island states and other vulnerable countries to stand their ground in the U.N. climate change negotiations. But too often the consensus rule works to protect the powerful, not the powerless. Big powers love consensus because it gives them veto power. Time and again, Russia and China, in particular, have used their veto in the Security Council to override the will of the majority.

As we saw last week on the last day of the ATT negotiations, the extension of this consensus rule can also mean that regimes such as Syria, North Korea  and Iran can hold the rest of the world hostage – in this case, at least for a few days.

Striving for consensus is, of course, sensible. The problem is that it can lead to a lowest-common-denominator approach. The balance of power shifts to those – often the minority – who oppose an issue, because all the effort goes into trying to persuade them not to bring everything to a shuddering halt. And whoever is chairing knows supporters will tend to be more flexible than skeptics.

During the two-week-long final conference, many states expressed unhappiness about the process. They felt the skeptics were being listened to too much, at the expense of everyone else. Halfway through the conference, Ghana, on behalf of more than 100 governments, delivered a statement that threw down the gauntlet to the president of the conference, Peter Woolcott, calling on him to listen more to the majority of states working for a strong treaty, not the minority intent on wrecking it.

But with Syria, North Korea and Iran in the room, achieving consensus was always going to be very difficult – and thus many were not surprised when it failed to emerge on the final day of the conference. Mexico, supported by Japan, Nigeria and others, made an attempt to persuade the room that since the majority clearly wanted the treaty, the president should push ahead.

A clever plan B was needed, and fortunately we had worked hard last October during the General Assembly session to make sure we had one. Progressive governments and the Control Arms Coalition lobbied hard to get a small but vital paragraph into the resolution that would take any blocked text to the General Assembly.

We had studied the precedents. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was adopted by vote following India blocking consensus, was the best example. As it turned out, that paragraph proved to be crucial; it was what enabled the blocked consensus text to go forward so quickly to vote, just five days after the final day of negotiations.

In a sudden about-face, the United States, the government that had insisted on consensus as the condition for its support throughout the negotiating process, switched to calling for a vote as soon a possible. It even co-sponsored the resolution, something it had never done before. Possibly, this was in response to intense external pressure, but also it seemed like the U.S. side was more coordinated than it had been in previous debates.

This may not mean the United States now supports the majority process – but changing horses during the race meant the Americans could use the consensus process to get the text they wanted and then, by supporting the resolution, they could ensure it went to a vote and passed.

Tuesday, April 2, was a good day for the U.N. It showed that things can get done. It showed that the democratic process can work. And it set an important precedent.

Does it make any difference, legally, that the treaty was adopted by vote, not consensus? No. It is the same text as on the final day of negotiations, and its legal status is the same as if it had been agreed by consensus. But it should give hope to those working on other seemingly intractable issues that you can change the rules of the game and make progress.

PHOTO: Fake tombstones are placed along the East River by members of the Control Arms Coalition to coincide with a diplomatic conference on the future Arms Trade Treaty in New York July 24, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/Control Arms/Handout

Source: Reuters

Vision GRAM Celebrates the Adoption of the ATT | Vision GRAM Célèbre l’Adoption du Traité de Commerce des armes

English to follow

Declaration de Vision GRAM-International sur l’adoption du Traité sur Le commerce des Armes (TCA) par les Etats,  ce 03 avril 2013

Une journée historique pour Le Monde avec Le vote au niveau de l’Assemblee Generale des Nations Unies. C’est apres une longue bataille que Vision GRAM International  accueille favorablement cette adoption par les Etats. Une victoire à souligner, car la vie des millions des Peuple est maintenant sauvée à travers ce geste RESPONSABLE de la part des Etats. 154 oui, 23 abstentions et 3 Non ne peut que nous rejouir de la decision des Etats de contribuer à la Paix et à la securite du Monde.
Les enfants et les femmes sont soulagés, car ces armes ont detruit leurs vies et ont transformé la Paix à la violence.
Ils ont été recrutés et utilisés par les groupes armés parce qu’il n’y avait pas une regulation et un contrôle sur Le commerce des armes. Maintenant,  “Il faudra alors leur donner Le stylo à la place des fusils”, explique Victor AMISI, Directeur Executif de Vision GRAM International .
Les femmes ont été victimes de viols et violences sexuelles parce que les armes non contrôlées sont tombés entre les mains illégales. Aujourd’hui, ils peuvent célébrer leur victoire.
Ls survivants de la violence armée voient leur peine apaisée, car ils ont été victimes suite à la détention des armes  par les personnes non autorisées. Plusieurs ont été ménacés de mort, certains ont survecu, alors que d’autres ont connu la mort.
“C’est une forme de justice rendue aux victimes et survivants” estime Victor AMISI.
C’est aujourd’hui un Appel aux Etats qui ont voté en faveur dutraité de recevoir nos félicitations en prenant cette decision RESPONSABLE pour sauver des vies et proteger leurs populations.  Cette responsabilité des Etats doit etre effective pour prevenir les crimes de genocide et les crimes Contre l’humanité. Ils soient faire plus.
Mais nous en appellons à sa signature Le plus vite possible pour qu’il soit fort et robuste avant sa ratification.
Ottawa, Le 02 avril 2013
Vision GRAM International
Statement from Vision GRAM regarding the Adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty- Wednesday April 3, 2013
Today Vision GRAM celebrates the victory of the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty. After a long battle, 154 states voted in favor, with 23 abstentions and 3 voting against. This is significant, as states took this RESPONSIBLE action on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world whose lives will be saved or greatly improved. We applaud the decision of the States who voted to contribute to Peace and security of the world.
Violence destroys the lives of many people, though women and children are disproportionately affected. Many Children are forcibly recruited and used by armed groups. Now, “We will replace their rifles with pens,” says Victor Amisi, Executive Director of Vision GRAM International. Women also celebrate a victory today, as they are often victims of rape and sexual violence due to the unchecked weapons trade. “It is a form of justice for the survivors of armed violence.”
Vision GRAM congratulates the States who made a responsible and courageous step, deciding to protect their populations, as the prevention of genocide, and crimes against humanity is part of the obligation of the State.
Today we call on Nations to keep the momentum and ratify the treaty as soon as possible. There is still much more to do.
Ottawa – April 3, 2013
Vision GRAM InternationalImage