My Statement on Disarmament on Behalf of Global Civil Society Organizations at the UN

Dr. Matthew Bolton, assistant professor of political science in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace University New York, presenting a statement on disarmament at the UN General Assembly’s First Committee on Tuesday. Photos by Shant Alexander for Control Arms.

Dr. Matthew Bolton, assistant professor of political science in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace University New York, presenting a statement on disarmament at the UN General Assembly’s First Committee on Tuesday. Photo by Shant Alexander for Control Arms.

Representatives of NGOs working on disarmament generously asked me to help draft and then deliver a statement to the United Nations General Assembly First Committee Tuesday afternoon. It was a nervewracking experience but I have to say incredibly exciting to be able to talk to the international community about an issue in which I feel passionately invested. As an academic, I have to admit I was a little star-struck!

“We call for an approach to disarmament that is driven by the needs and rights of people most affected by armed violence, not by the discretion of states and organizations most responsible for it,” said the NGO statement, endorsed by 11 organizations. We congratulated states on “some noteworthy progress” in recent international discussions on the elimination of nuclear weapons, the recent Security Council resolution on small arms and light weapons as well as the Arms Trade Treaty, signed by over 100 states since June.

Despite these developments in global policy making on controlling weapons, however, we asserted that “now is not the time for resting on laurels.” The NGO statement identified numerous concerns, including the abuse of the consensus rule in disarmament forums, exclusion of meaningful civil society participation, lack of equal opportunities for women in decisionmaking and the marginalization of the voices of victims and survivors of armed violence.

“Creativity and new human-centered approaches must be a requirement for all states advocating nuclear disarmament, conventional arms control and reduced military expenditure,” the statement said. “We can and must replace stalemate and watered-down outcomes with alternatives that advance human security and social and economic justice.”

To watch a video of the oral version of the statement, visit Control Arm’s LiveStream page — I get the floor at the 21 minute 55 second mark.

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 30 October 2013.

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