Adventures in the corridors of power - my evening at the Arms Trade Treaty celebration
GUEST POST by Amnesty Scotland's new media volunteer Katie Cunningham
I have recently joined Amnesty in Edinburgh as a media volunteer. One of my first “official duties” was to attend an event at the Scottish Parliament to thank MSPs, Amnesty members, campaigners, and supporters who had been involved in the successful Arms Trade Treaty Campaign. John Finnie MSP was our host for the evening. Representatives from all over Scotland were invited and the guest of honour was Scottish campaigner David Grimason.
Anyone who follows our work knows Amnesty International has been working diligently against the illegal buying and selling of arms for twenty years along with our Control Arms partners.
As we all know, the Arms Trade is a bringer of personal and social tragedy, and until now there has been no multinational governmental effort to impose regulations and control on it. The creation of the Treaty could be a world changing moment – not only at a political level but more importantly for the people whose lives are affected by illegal arms every day.
David Grimason spoke very movingly on his personal experiences during and after the death of his son Alistair. His family were on hand to support him and it was particularly nice to see John Finnie taking the time to speak to David Grimason Sr, who has also been involved in the campaign.
The evening began with a short introduction from John Finnie, a few words from Amnesty Scotland Programme Director Mark Bevan, and a very moving speech from David. While all spoke in terms of what has been achieved they did mention there is still a long way to go to ratify and enact the Treaty.
After this more formal start, the rest of the event was given over to mingling and discussion between the attendees. It isn’t often that so many local Amnesty group members from all over Scotland are in the same place, and it was a good opportunity for me to meet them and see likeminded friendships being formed.
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.