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TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

Panel to address arms trade, Darfur conflict

The on-campus chapter of a worldwide movement for human rights will host a panel discussion about the implications of global arms trade on human rights today, the faculty sponsor said.Hjamil Martinez-Vazquez, a religion professor and the faculty sponsor for Amnesty International, said arms trade is mainly developed in Third World countries where conflict and totalitarianism are rampant.

He said whoever possesses the guns will be in control, and human rights violations usually follow.

Alexis Branaman, a freshman international communications and advertising/public relations major and member of Amnesty International who organized the event, said human rights that should be internationally acknowledged – the right to a safe life, the right to protect one’s children and the right to property – are being taken away because of those who can easily and cheaply access weapons that make it possible for them to exert their influence.

Arms trade is an issue to be discussed because arms do not only transfer from state to state, which can be easily traced, said Carrie Currier, a political science professor. There are also often third-party transfers and black markets that are more difficult to track, which make it easier for arms to end up in the hands of individuals as opposed to the government.

Illegal arms trade is made easy by loopholes in arms trade regulation laws, according to the Control Arms campaign Web site.

The discussion will eventually tie back to the conflicts present in the Darfur region of Sudan, the topic Amnesty International members chose to address.

The Darfur conflict is a civil war that began in early 2003 when rebel groups started to attack government targets to protest that the Sudanese government was oppressing black Africans and favoring Arabs. The government mobilized a self-defense militia that is being accused of being linked with the elimination of black Africans, according to several BBC news articles.

Human rights groups, the U.S. Congress and former Secretary of State Colin Powell all have referred to the conflict as a genocide.

Currier and political science professor Eric Cox will attend the discussion to speak and answer questions about the issue.

Students need to know where the guns being used in wars are coming from, Cox said. He said it is important that students are aware so they can make better judgment about what policies and politicians to support.

Cox said he will primarily discuss the role of the United Nations in monitoring international arms trade.

Cox said the primary reason arms trade exists is because it makes individuals and countries a lot of money.

Currier said it is important that students attend the discussion because talking about the issue with increasingly larger circles of people can eventually lead to action.

“When we don’t look at ourselves as being a part of the global community, and we just care about our own bubble,” Currier said. “We don’t discuss or take enough action.”

Currier said she will speak about the extent of the arms trade and why states and individuals continue to transfer arms, focusing on who is transferring to whom.

She will also discuss China’s relationship with Sudan and the role it plays in the Darfur conflict, which relates to China’s domestic politics on preserving state sovereignty.

The discussion will be in conjunction with Tuesday’s screening of “Lord of War”, which paints the life of a private arms trade dealer who supplies impoverished countries in conflict with the means to kill each other. The movie outlines the motives of arms traders, why they continue to engage in arms trade and the consequences of their sales.

The movie also conveys that although private arms traders continue to sell arms on the black market, the main weapons suppliers are the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and the U.S. – the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

According to the Control Arms campaign Web site, the U.S. exports $14 billion in arms a year. North Africa and the Middle East receive $12 billion in arms – 45 percent of which comes from the U.S.

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