In just four days, will we see... an #armstreaty?
Four days to go, and I’m almost bursting with anticipation. As fireworks go off in East London this Friday, across the pond in New York, government representatives from more than 190 United Nations member states will decide on the world’s first ever international Arms Trade Treaty. And in this home stretch, the dividing lines are becoming more distinct.
Since the start of talks, the US made it clear that they want the Treaty to include an ‘escape clause’ that would allow national security considerations to override any serious human rights concerns when deciding to supply arms to other countries. This was pretty concerning to us at Amnesty. So since last week Thursday thousands of Amnesty supporters across the globe petitioned the US authorities to persuade them against this decision, including more than 6,000 supporters from the UK alone.
Whether we’ve been successful or not in persuading the US’ position remains to be seen.
But we are certainly encouraged by William Hague who said today that the UK “will not sign up to a weak text”. The UK Foreign Secretary goes on to say: “We want an agreement which is robust and legally binding and achieves significant gains for the international community, particularly greater security and the preservation of human rights.”
Sounds pretty good to me!
This came shortly after a flurry of #armstreaty tweets from across the UK – and beyond – when people were encouraged to #AskFCO anything they liked about the UK’s position on the Arms Trade Treaty.
It also follows a pretty strong comment piece by former International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander on today’s Independent Online Comment section urging the UK Government to not falter on setting out an effective, comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty which is respectful of human rights and sustainable development.
In these final days of the talks, it definitely looks as though the posturing is over and the action and decisions are about to be taken. The question now is whether the UK is able to hit the mark. It feels like we’re getting there, but let’s keep the pressure on!
Urge the UK Government to make us proud and stand firm for a robust human-rights-centred Arms Trade Treaty.
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.