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Conventional arms can be 'weapons of mass destruction,' Vatican envoy reminds UN

August 23, 2016

Speaking on August 23 to a UN session on controlling weapons of mass destruction, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's permanent observer, made the point that conventional arms can have the same devastating effects as nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

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The Vatican representative suggested that the UN should devote some attention to controls on "devastatingly powerful conventional weapons used to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity." He spoke about the practical consequences of the use of these weapons:

Indeed, humanitarian disasters that continue to unfold in real time before our very own eyes show us that schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure are blown up by the incessant use of powerful conventional weapons. The tens of millions of refugees and displaced persons send an important message to this Chamber today: We must flee or die as our cities and communities are entirely devastated, not by nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, but by powerful conventional weapons.

Archbishop Auza reminded his audience that the Vatican has frequently called upon nations that manufacture and sell convention weapons to restrict sales to "unstable countries and regions of the world, where the likelihood of their illegal use and their falling into the hands of non-state actors is real and present." 


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  • Posted by: mary_conces3421 - Aug. 24, 2016 11:00 AM ET USA

    Besides blurring definition distinctions, sounds like he's advocating some sort of universal gun control, which often serves to disarm victims rather than perpetrators.