Arms Trade Treaty (Letter from the AI Director)

Today in New York, the world came to an historic agreement to regulate the $100bn arms trade, preventing for the first time the transfer of guns, bombs, tanks and bullets to countries where we know or suspect they would be used to commit abuses. Finally putting people’s rights above profits. The rights of women in the Ivory Coast not to be raped at gunpoint, of families in Syria not to be blown up in their homes, and of children not to be armed and forced to shoot at other children.

And it was all thanks to you.

It was your donations that allowed our team of campaigners and lobbyists to be there in New York, ensuring the combined voice of millions of Amnesty supporters around the world was heard.

It was the letters you wrote, the friends you told about our campaign, the demonstrations and meetings you attended throughout our twenty years of campaigning – and the emails you sent right into the last 48 hours of
negotiations, which helped strengthen the final Treaty text.

And it was your vocal support on Twitter that carried us through the final twists and turns of Thursday’s conference into today's UN General Assembly vote. It was thanks too to our partners in the Control Arms coalition, and to the UK Government and MPs who answered your call and fought for a treaty we can all be proud of.  We got our Treaty! Hear how it happened from our campaigner Verity:

This campaign is particularly close to my heart. When I was in Afghanistan, I could see on the streets of Kabul the way almost every man was armed, the climate that created and the fear that ensued. Practically every arms exporting country in the world has been selling to Afghanistan for so long that it is now awash with weapons. With so little regulation, it’s all too easy for arms to fall into the hands of human rights abusers – not just in Afghanistan, but all over the world.

This is what we set out to bring to an end.

It was an ambitious goal, but an important one because arms are at the root of so many of the abuses we are fighting against, from torture to violence against women. From today onwards, because of the Arms Trade
Treaty, the world is a step closer to being a safer, fairer place. Please tell everyone you know about this historic moment by sharing the good news on Facebook, Twitter or your blog:

Thank you – together we did it.

Kate Allen
Amnesty International UK

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