By Chidinma Chidoka, Fellow, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy of the Church of the Brethren riding on the mandates given by the 1918 and 1970 statements on War, the 1978 statement on violence and use of firearms, the 1982 call to halt the nuclear arms race, the 1982 reaffirmation of opposition to war and the 2013 Resolution against drone warfare have gone into partnership with various working groups and coalitions.
Members and friends of the Church of the Brethren worldwide are invited to visit the Arms Sales and Accountability Project website. The website shows citizens how to hold their members of congress accountable and speak the minds of their constituents when votes for arms sales come up in the congress. The Arms Sales Accountability Project is a coalition of diverse organizations that together undertake the task of research, advocacy, and public engagement as it relates to the United States arms sales and security assistance. ASAP has as its core mandate: Oversight, Reform, and Accountability.
According to ASAP, the United States is the worlds leading arms seller, selling more than the next three nations combined. This makes it likely for US weapons to fuel violence, corruption, and abuse abroad. Simply put, where there is an incidence of violence, war, or abuse abroad, the chance that such violence is perpetrated by US weapons is high.
The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy considers the work of the project crucial in waging peace and believes that through this partnership we can continue to advocate for Brethren values within the context of US policy. Arms sales go against the Church of the Brethren’s position on war, violence, and the use of firearms.
The ASAP website is a useful resource for the work the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy does as it brings together every piece of information needed as far as US policy and arms sales are concerned, ranging from why the United States sells so many weapons to where those weapons go and what reforms are needed.
This coalition is coordinated by the Centre for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC).
The project encourages citizens to demand accountability from their congressmen and women regarding US arms sales. They encourage citizens to demand that their representatives perform better oversight functions in demanding that the US government not sell arms to human rights violators, war criminals, and corrupt officials and show them how to do that.