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Arms: The UK must be a 'trend-setter' for human rights centred treaty

Nick Clegg’s commitment sends right signals for strong Arms Treaty

Amnesty International has today welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister’s promise that the UK will lead the way in developing an effective and historic new Arms treaty and has urged the UK Government not to give way to pressure from other states to dilute the Treaty.

Speaking in the Independent on Sunday on 19 Feb, Nick Clegg declared that the coalition government will ‘lead the charge for a robust, legally-binding treaty, covering all conventional weapons’, adding that the UK must ‘meet the highest standards if [they] expect others to do the same’.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“We welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s promise that the UK Government will lead the way for a robust Arms Treaty. He is right to say that the UK must lead by example as it champions an Arms Treaty.

“Given the horrifying scenes of devastation caused by armed violence in Syria and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, it’s never been more apparent that we need an effective, robust treaty.”

Amnesty also welcomed the UK’s commitment at last week’s critical UN talks for a strong Arms Treaty. Some states attempted to water down safeguards that could protect human rights in the Treaty.

Kate Allen added:

“A new Arms Treaty will only be successful if it includes the essential principle that weapons are never transferred to places where there’s a substantial risk that they will be used to commit atrocities. Unless that’s ring-fenced as a pre-requisite, the Treaty may prove hopelessly ineffective.“

"So far, the UK is sending the right signals in resuming its position of leadership for a strong new global treaty. However, it must now be a trendsetter and lead the call for a human-rights centred robust treaty. This July, the UK must delivers on its promise to uphold human rights on a global scale. Thousands of lives are depending on it.”

Currently there are no legally binding global controls on the flow of weapons, despite there being equivalent regulations concerning the trade of other items including postage stamps and dinosaur bones.

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