THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

May 23, 2006 13:53 ET

SMALL ARMS ARE A BIG PROBLEM SAYS THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, World News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 23, 2006) - May 22-29, 2006, marks the Global Week of Action Against Small Arms. It is a time, says The United Church of Canada, to remember that "God calls us to be peacemakers and reconcilers in a world of much conflict and division."

Small arms are a big problem-not only for Canadian cities but also for communities across the globe.

"With over 600 million small arms in circulation globally, killing over 500,000 people annually, we cannot close our eyes to the issue of small arms," says Choice Okoro, Program Coordinator for Human Rights and Reconciliation.

Earlier this month, Okoro wrote Prime Minister Stephen Harper, asking him to stiffen the resolve of the Canadian delegation attending the June 26-July 7, 2006, United Nations Small Arms Review Conference.

She says the serious threat that small arms pose to human security can no longer be ignored. She explains that the easy availability of small arms increases the lethality of armed violence, prolongs conflict, and exacerbates poverty.

"We must work harder to control the trade in small arms," comments Okoro. "Small arms contribute to untold social, economic, and political destruction, and act as a major hindrance to human development."

In her letter to Mr. Harper, Okoro asked the Prime Minister to engage other leaders in setting a small arms agenda at the United Nations and in implementing the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.

"I appeal to you, as the leader of a country that espouses its role as an international peacekeeper, to speak out against the grave humanitarian suffering caused by small arms proliferation and misuse," wrote Okoro.
/For further information: Mary-Frances Denis
Communications Officer
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office)
416-885-7478 (cell)
416-766-0057 (home)
/ IN: DEFENCE, INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, RELIGION, TRADE

Contact Information

  • Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer, The United Church of Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016
    Secondary Phone: 416-766-0057
    E-mail: mdenis@united-church.ca