Three dozen arms control and human rights groups have written to U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of new arms-trade negotiations at the United Nations next month, urging him to back a tough treaty that would end loopholes in international weapons sales.
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Arms control campaigners say one person every minute dies worldwide as a result of armed violence and a convention is needed to prevent the unregulated and illicit flow of weapons into conflict zones and fueling wars and atrocities.

The U.N. General Assembly voted in December to restart negotiations in mid-March on what could become the first international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade after a drafting conference in July collapsed because the United States and other nations wanted more time.

“The United States, as the world’s leading arms supplier, has a special responsibility to provide the leadership needed for an ATT (arms trade treaty) with the highest possible standards for the transfer of conventional arms and ammunition,” the groups wrote to Obama in a letter delivered late on Friday.

“The Arms Trade Treaty can provide a key tool to help reduce enormous human suffering caused by irresponsible international arms transfers and arms brokering,” the letter said.

The 36 groups that co-authored the letter include Amnesty International USA, Arms Control Association, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Oxfam America, National Association of Evangelicals and other groups.