Mexico’s Calderón urges OK of U.N. arms treaty

Mexico, where tens of thousands of people have been murdered and mutilated in drug wars over the past five years, Wednesday called on the United Nations to help establish strict controls in producer and supplier countries on the high-powered weapons that feed the arsenals of traffickers.

“It is unjust and inhuman that the profits of the arms industry should decide the deaths of thousands of people,” Mexican President Felipe Calderón told the U.N. General Assembly on the opening day of its annual general debate, calling the huge profits of drug trafficking and easy access to high-powered weapons two sides of the same coin against which the world must forge a common front.

“At the United Nations we must continue to drive forward negotiations for the International Convention on Trade in Arms so as to avoid their diversion to activities that are forbidden under international rules,” he said, citing a proposed treaty that has been under discussion in various UN forums for several years.

Listing drug trafficking and transnational organized crime among three major challenges facing the U.N. Calderón called for action by consumer countries to curb the stratospheric profits of drug trafficking, which are fueled by an ever-growing demand. The other two challenges were climate change and health.

“Now, more than ever, countries with the highest levels of drug consumption must take effective action to reduce demand,” he said. “And if that is not possible, or they are disposed or resigned to seeing consumption continue to grow, these consumer countries must in any case find ways of reducing the enormous profits which criminals make on their black market.

“They are morally obliged to find solutions that cut off this source of financing and explore other options and alternatives that stop drug trafficking money from being the source of violence and death, particularly in Latin America, the Caribbean and parts of Africa.”

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