Control Arms Campaign - General Info

Control Arms


* Every day, millions of men, women and children are living in fear.

* Every minute, one person is killed by armed violence.

* There are around 639 million small arms and light weapons in the world today.

* Eight million more are produced every year.

* These weapons fuel violent conflict, state repression, crime, and domestic abuse.

Unless governments act to stop the spread of arms, more lives will be lost, more human rights violations will take place, and more people will be denied the chance to escape poverty. Readily available weapons will intensify and prolong wars. More people will be terrorised and forced from their homes.

Cluster Bombs

Cluster bombs were once a preferred weapon in many wars, because they can be dropped from afar and little bomblets  are then scattered far and wide, having a devastating impact across a huge area. Weapons like this have a massive impact on civilians and are difficult to eradicate from former war zones.

Hundreds of NGOs, inluding Amnesty, have supported the worldwide campaign to abolish the use of cluster bombs. In December 2008, 92 countries agreed to sign up to the Treaty but it couldn't be effective until at least 30 states had ratified it.

We are delighted that in July 2010 Burkina Faso and Moldova became the 29th and 30th states to ratify the treaty, which means that on 1st August 2010 the Convention on Cluster Munitions formally comes into force. This will be a full and legally binding ban on cluster bombs for all countries that have ratified it, includng the UK.

Arms Trade Treaty

For over 2 decades Amnesty has campaigned for an international treaty to control the arms trade. The aim is to provide clear and binding guidelines to arms-selling countries on when it is OK and when it is not OK to sell or transfer arms. Our key aim in the campaign is for the treaty to include a rule that prevented the transfer of arms where there is substantial evidence that it would fuel human rights abuses.. 

Talks finally began in June 2010 at the United Nations, with negotiators from 192 governments set to discuss a new treaty that would regulate the arms trade and could save thousands of lives every year. At a special session of the United Nations General Assembly on 2 April 2013, 157  states made history by voting to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty. While this Treaty is not perfect, our 'golden rule' did make it n. This Treaty really does have the potetntial to save thousands of lives and improve many more but first we need to see it ratified.

We are keeping up the pressure on governments and world leaders to deliver on their promises.  

Louise Chick looks after this campaign.


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