Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva introduced the Arm Sale and Responsibility Act yesterday to prevent U.S. arms sales from benefiting regimes that abuse human rights. The bill comes as U.S. leaders prepare to attend the United Nations negotiating conference for the International Arms Trade Treaty in March.
According to estimates by the Control Arms Campaign, one person dies every minute as a result of armed violence, with thousands more abused and injured daily. Each year sees 12 billion bullets produced worldwide, enough to kill nearly everyone on the planet twice, yet bananas have stricter international trade regulations than weapons and ammunition. More information on global weapons and ammunition production is available at http://bit.ly/11QiZLu.
The Arm Sale and Responsibility Act denies overseas arm transfer authorization if there is substantial risk that the arms will be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.
"American arms sales shouldn't facilitate human rights abuses. It's as simple as that," Grijalva said. "We can't keep turning a blind eye when our own bombs and bullets blind the eyes and end the lives of thousands of civilians every year. We must never become a war profiteer nation. This bill makes sure we stop selling weapons to dictators and tyrants, and there's simply no good argument against it."
The bill seeks to stop the flow of weapons on the legal and black markets to nations that support terrorism or where there is a high risk of weapons being lost or stolen, as in Syria and Bahrain. The bill would bring the U.S. into line with stronger international standards and would not affect the domestic market.