Arms Trade Treaty: Can we do it Obama?
Arms Trade Treaty negotiations are at a crucial point. I can hardly believe that we’re already half way through.
So much has happened and yet in terms of concrete decisions, Moritan (the president of the conference) sums it up nicely:
"nothing is decided until everything is decided".
Human rights based criteria that could save the lives of millions of people are at risk of being seriously weakened as this historic Treaty is negotiated at the UN in New York.
So we've been looking for opportunities to influence, inform and persuade Governments about key policy concerns that we have about the content of the treaty
But we can't ignore the elephant in the room any longer.
What am I talking about? To put it simply – it’s the USA. Specifically, their approach to criteria provisions (basically what gets included) in the treaty.
President Obama’s officials, here to negotiate on his behalf, have indicated that they think any state (as in country) considering an arms export should be entitled to let national security considerations trump grave human rights concerns, and that such a right should be reflected in the treaty.
Suffice to say: we’re not so convinced.
What we need you to do
As the world’s biggest exporter of arms, a super power and a member of the permanent five members of the Security Council we cannot ignore the influence the US has on every area of this process.
Weakening rules around human rights would mean that governments would be able to continue supplying deadly weapons to those who commit serious human rights abuses.
So, will the US use this power for good? Or for something not so good?
That decision rests on Obama’s shoulders, shared of course with members of his national security council and the pentagon.
You can do it Obama!
The question is, Obama, can we do it? Is there 'hope' (sorry, couldn’t resist!) for a treaty that will protect people across the world by keeping weapons out of the hands of those who would use them to commit serious human rights violations?
The vision of the world Obama has spoken of is one where people treat each other like they would like to be treated themselves. A simple message, but one that sums up quite nicely, I think, the world a strong treaty would help to create.
But with all the domestic and commercial pressures on Obama will he take the path of least resistance, or will he step up to the plate?
Don’t wait around to find out. You can step up to the plate today and tell Obama to fight for a better world by protecting human rights in the Arms Trade Treaty.
Join people around the world and make sure the Whitehouse cannot ignore our outcry.
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.