U.N. says parliaments have role to play in disarmament

Even without engaging in disarmament treaty negotiations themselves, parliaments have play a role in giving disarmament and conventional arms control the force of law, the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs said on Tuesday.

Angela Kane, the high representative for disarmament affairs for the U.N., made the remarks on Tuesday during a Canadian parliamentary forum on nuclear disarmament. Kane said that while there are many differences between parliaments around the world, there is potential for a humanitarian approach to disarmament to reconcile such differences.

"No single political party has a monopoly on defining the public conscience when it comes to the humanitarian effects of these weapons - recognition of our common humanity offers a strong foundation indeed for collective action across party lines to respond to all of these weapons challenges," Kane said.

Kane said that parliaments can build the case that progress in disarmament needs a strong foundation in domestic and international law. She said Canada and other countries have understood how important disarmament is for the citizens of the world.

"How fitting and impressive it is that the lawmakers of the world - despite the abundance of other issues of pressing concern to their local constituencies - would be devoting such effort to bringing the rule of law to disarmament," Kane said. "You have understood well how progress in this field would not only make citizens everywhere more safe and secure - it would also enable the rational allocation of financial and technical resources to address basic human needs for social and economic development."

Kane praised the members of Canada's parliament for acting as responsible custodians for their constituents and for future generations to come.

"I am honored to be in your company today, and am reassured that together we will see new progress in achieving disarmament goals that will yield a more secure and prosperous world for all," Kane said.