Arms Trade Treaty and Armistice at Wilton Park

11 November, 2011

Richard Burge, Chief Executive, writes:

The church at Wilton Park – St Mary’s – has been a sacred place for nearly a thousand years. The worn brass image of a local crusader knight lies silently near the tiny war memorial that records the sacrifice of local parishioners in the First World War. Twelve men including two pairs of brothers from a community that has never numbered above a few hundred. In more recent times, Wilton Park was the place from which the Canadian assaults at D-Day were planned.

Our focus over the past few days has been on a conference preparing quietly and diligently for the Arms Trade Treaty – a hugely important step for peace as the international community reduces access to and availability of weapons to organisations and countries that do not accept the grave responsibility that entails.

So at 11.00 today, around seventy of us gathered in the church – lit only by a grey winter sun through the medieval windows and the flickering candles on the altar and at the war memorial. For two minutes, arm control experts from US, UK, France, Germany, China, Japan, Argentina, Egypt, S Africa, and Russia stood silently together, remembering the dead and reflecting on the sacrifice of war.

St Mary's church, Wiston

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