Arms: Amnesty calls on MPs to support strong arms treaty with new film

Weeks before crucial talks begin at the United Nations to negotiate an international Arms treaty, Amnesty International has today released a new short film highlighting the need to control the global trade and transfer of weapons and ammunition.  To date, no such global legislation exists.

The hard hitting short film which thousands of Amnesty supporters will send to their local MPs, shows the tragic human cost of the Arms by depicting some of the atrocities committed in Syria’s on-going war.  The film also features photojournalist Paul Conroy, who was nearly killed while working in the country. Paul describes elements of the Syrian conflict as ‘systematic slaughter’.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Once MPs watch this compelling new film, they must tell David Cameron’s government that they will be counting on them to bring home an historic treaty of which this generation of politicians can be proud.”

The UK Government – with a delegation overseen by Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt – will join 192 other UN Member states in New York for the UN Final Conference on the Arms Treaty which begins on Monday 18 March and is expected to conclude on Thursday 28 March.   Delegates from all the world’s governments are expected to thrash out and negotiate this new treaty that would for the first time regulate the global Arms with a set of legally-binding controls.

Kate Allen continued:

“This Arms Treaty has been 20 years in the making.   It’s hard to believe that there are tighter international controls in the global trade of bananas than there are on the global trade in guns.

“We’re on the verge of seeing history being made and an Arms Treaty may be soon realised.  But it needs to be strong and effective.

“We want to see a treaty which applies to all weapons and munitions, including bullets and bombs, a treaty which obligates governments to know where their weapons end up through proper monitoring and checks, and a treaty which really can stop weapons getting into the hands of human rights abusers.

“This is feasible. But it requires a clear and firm commitment from world leaders.  The UK Government has played a leading role in Arms Treaty talks in the past. Now is not the time for the UK to take a backseat in discussions. It must continue to demonstrate a clear commitment that it will not settle for anything less than an effective bulletproof Arms treaty.”

Notes to the Editor

  •  There is currently no single global piece of legislation to regulate and monitor the international trade of arms. There is a patchwork of national and regional legislation. A comprehensive international Arms Treaty sets out to achieve that.
  • The film can be viewed and shared via www.amnesty.org.uk/att
  • In July 2012, the UN came together to discuss and agree an Arms Treaty. Talks stalled after some countries, led by the US, called for more time to discuss the treaty. Strong support for this treaty was shown at the UN General Assembly in November last year, where it was agreed that the Arms Treaty must be agreed upon and decided at the Final Conference in March 2013. 
  • Amnesty International will have a delegation attending the Final Conference at the United Nations in New York.

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