Arms Trade Treaty talks, there will be fireworks

I have fireworks on the mind.

I love fireworks. I love other people's reactions to them. Let’s see if that's still the case by the time these talks end on 27 July...

Experiencing them here in NYC is a happy by-product of being part of the Amnesty team at the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations.

Another happy by-product of it being the 4th July is that it is a public holiday in NYC.

Or is it? Not for us!

Getting the Chair’s thoughts

After Ambassador Moritan - the Chair of the conference - introduced his new non-paper on Tuesday evening we can expect many more fireworks over the coming weeks. But they’ll be of a very different variety to the red, white and blue lighting up the Manhattan skyline for the 4th July celebrations.

The paper looks and feels different to what we’ve seen before. Some areas are positive but there's a lot that's not right with it too.

Because Amb Moritan introduced his new paper we have been working hard all day. There is a lot to analyse, consult on and then re-strategise.

Dedicated people are working hard, comparing the concepts to previous papers and seeing how it affects our key campaign demands. But I'm going to leave you in suspense about our findings for now.

Questions, questions

Time has been spent analysing States' positions, what do we know about regional blocks like the Arab states, Europe and Latin America? Who are the real champions speaking out already?

What and who is the biggest threat to achieving what we are all here for, to see the establishment of a treaty that will change - for the better - how the world’s trade and transfer of conventional weapons takes place?

I always think the term 'conventional weapons' is a strange one. Conventional means (to me anyway) normal.Safe even.

There is nothing safe about parts of the global arms trade, you only need to pick up your paper or scan online and you will see reports of conflict all over the world, often exacerbated by the uncontrolled flow of 'conventional weapons'.

We acknowledge states’ rights to defend themselves. This treaty isn't about domestic gun ownership either, whatever my personal opinion on that may be.

It's about stopping the trade and transfer of weapons where there is a substantial risk that they will be used to do really, really bad things. Read here to find out what I'm talking about

So did the new Chair's paper agree with us on this or are there going to be fireworks? We'll give you some proper thoughts on this tomorrow. For now, I'm off to be amazed at the ones that look pretty in the sky.

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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.
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