Scotland: Mark Thomas gives Amnesty International's Annual Lecture

Friday 18 August, 3pm,
Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charlotte’s Square

Comedian and broadcaster Mark Thomas will be giving Amnesty International’s Annual Lecture at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Friday 18 August. Talking about his new book As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela: Underground Adventures in the Arms and Torture Trade, Mark will be exposing the ways arms companies exploit legal loop-holes in exporting arms and torture equipment.

Mark Thomas has been a prominent supporter of the Control Arms campaign run jointly by Amnesty International, Oxfam and IANSA. The Control Arms campaign is looking to establish an international Arms Treaty to stem the flow of arms into the world’s worst conflict zones.

Mark Thomas said:

“Millions of weapons end up in the wrong hands every day because of loopholes in the existing global Arms. I hope that my book and the campaigning I’ve done urges people to become engaged in the issue and to realise that change is possible – and that it’s not just possible, it’s essential.”

Mark recently concentrated on the Arms, a “lifetime obsession” for Thomas.

As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela is a compendium of his film work on this subject, including his recent Dispatches film, After School Arms Club, in which he helped an Amnesty youth group in Oxfordshire buy torture implements over the Internet.

Mark Thomas shot to fame in the 90s with his Channel 4 programme the Mark Thomas Comedy Project, where he exposed the dealings of politicians and unscrupulous business people.

However, recently he has been invited to give evidence at various government select committees. He is one of a limited number of people to be awarded a UN Global Human Rights Defender Award and has also been awarded a Kurdish National Congress Medal of Honour amongst other citations. His three-year campaign to stop the building of the Ilisu damn in Turkey was ultimately successful and saved 78,000 Kurds from being displaced.

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