We need a strong and binding Arms Trade Treaty Now!
I can remember almost exactly five years ago travelling to a school on the outskirts of Belfast where the enterprising Amnesty group had managed to get the whole school PLUS parents to add their faces to the million faces petition, calling for a strong and binding arms trade treaty. Over 1 million faces from over 1 hundred countries were presented to Kofi Annan and showed that the citizens of the world wanted a well regulated arms industry.
In the last five years we've achieved a historic clusters bombs treaty, landmine deaths and mutilations have plummeted, as a result of the ban on land mines, and 2 million people have died as a result of the the UN twilddling its thumbs….sorry what was that?
I see you are re-reading that sentence. Yes TWO MILLION people have died because we still don't have an Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the transfer of arms and ensure that military hardware and small arms doesn't fall into the hands of human rights abusers, dictators and militias who terrorise civilian populations in places like the DRC, where six million people have died over the last ten years in a largely forgotten war.
Indeed the development implications of an unregulated arms trade are also massive, today on the Today programme, Claire Short spoke at her frustration of seeing an arms deal being allowed to proceed indeed encouraged of a military air traffic control sytem to Tanzania a country with little air force, at an inflated price and technologically out of date. Put that into the context that as International Development Secretary she had recently granted Tanzania millions of pounds and you can see the absurdity of the situation. Talk about joined up government! This is currrently one of the deals of BAE systems under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. Thsi is the sort of deal that an Arms Trade Treay could help to prevent.
The UN are just about to embark on a series of meetings to discuss the proposed arms trade treaty, after an online action last week David Miliband promised that the UK government would push for a strong and binding treaty,
But we all know what its like when people enter the negotiating room….. Make sure he sticks to his guns (excuse the terrible pun) What you can do….you can comment on David Milibands blog and tell him what you want.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.