Florence Foster, Representative for Peace & Disarmament at QUNO Geneva, had the pleasure of speaking to the Council on Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament (CCADD) over a lunch time event on ‘Small Arms Exports, Leadership and Accountability: A Human Rights Perspective’.
Her intervention outlined how a human rights perspective, while at times very technical and filled with legal jargon, also helps put the people back at the centre of arms control discourses that are all too often about the tools of violence, and not about the people and their lived experiences of it.
Florence shared examples from colleagues who leverage a range of human rights mechanisms in Geneva, from the Universal Periodic Review to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), also helped highlight how human rights mechanisms are an empowering avenue for greater engagement with legislators and the general public as spaces to raise concerns about arms transfer practices and effect change.
QUNO has found that leveraging the UN human rights mechanisms to advocate for stricter arms control both reflects the harsh reality that arms transfers and their acquisition by civilians can negatively impact human rights; but also complements and offers prospects of energising many disarmament and arms control frameworks, including by addressing the economic drivers of these exports, namely the businesses behind the bullets.
Read her full intervention in the document below.
For further examples of QUNO’s work on the topic:
- QUNO welcomes OHCHRs report on the 'Impact of the civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms by children and youth' - HRC49
- Joint NGO submission to the UN Working Group and Business and Human Rights | QUNO
- A Backhouse Lecture by David Attwood, QUNO's Peace and Disarmament Representative from 1995-2011, on QUNO's work on disarmament: the mine ban, small arms proliferation and building peace. See attachment below.