Dying to get a strong arms trade treaty

With less than two weeks to go before all the world's governments meet again to thrash out the details of an arms trade treaty, the Metro’s In-focus piece rightly claimed that the fact we have no arms trade treaty is simply ‘bananas’.   While Amnesty’s Verity Coyle describes it as absurd and shameful.  And quite frankly it is.  

Many of us had high hopes for last July’s UN Conference when governments met to agree the treaty.  Things were going along relatively smoothly. Til the last minute when a few countries, led by the US called for more time and so talks stalled.  

I’m really hoping that this won’t be the case this month.

As the Metro’s piece points out, about 1500 people die every day as a result of armed violence. And 85 per cent of all killings documented by Amnesty involves guns.  

This trade has been poorly regulated for far too long. It is absurd that there are tighter global controls on the trade of bananas than on the trade of guns.

A couple of days ago, as reported by the Hackney Gazette, Evening Standard and the Express among others about 100 students took part in a die-in outside Amnesty’s headquarters in Shoreditch to highlight the need for an arms trade treaty.   

David Grimason – whose two-year-old son shot and killed by a stray bullet as the family were holidaying in Turkey – also attended the Shoreditch demonstration. There he reminded the UK Government that it has to deliver on a tough treaty in two weeks’ time.

When governments meet for the 2-week long UN Conference in New York on 18 March, they must go there determined to agree the strongest and most effective treaty possible. A treaty which includes all weapons and ammunition – including bombs, grenades and bullets; a treaty which make governments know exactly where their weapons end up, and a treaty which can actually stop weapons getting into the hands of human rights abusers.

They have one more chance to do this. Let’s make sure they get it right this time. Far too many people are dying for it.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
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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