Four global church bodies have issued a statement calling upon government leaders to reach agreement on arms.
A four-week conference got underway earlier in the month on the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.
The treaty would regulate the international arms trade and clamp down on the transfer of weapons to criminal and terrorist groups.
The World Evangelical Alliance, World Council of Churches, Pax Christi International and Caritas urged the government representatives to take action to control the movement of weapons and ammunition.
“With thousands of people around the world killed or injured in armed violence each day, the governments’ work will be judged by how many lives the treaty helps save,” the statement read.
“Yet if a few major countries do not change their negotiating positions, the proposed treaty will not include the ammunition or arms most often used to commit such crimes.”
They warned of the human toll of illegal arms sales on innocent men, women and children, and note that while there are national level controls in some countries, there is as yet no international regulation.
“For people of goodwill and of faith, protecting human dignity and the sanctity of life are the real test of the Arms Trade Treaty,” they said.
“A strong and effective treaty can protect people from the insecurity, deprivation, fear and death caused by the unregulated and irresponsible trade in arms – but not if that treaty fails to regulate ammunition.”