UK: Oxfam and Amnesty call on Miliband to reject US proposal to give every State a veto over crucial arms treaty

Call on UK to show leadership to ensure an effective treaty

London/New York: The US government’s plans to give every State a veto over a crucial Arms treaty must be rejected by the British government as US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband are set to meet in London on Sunday, said Oxfam International and Amnesty International UK today.

The two Ministers will hold talks including on the Arms Treaty (ATT) now under discussions this month at the UN in New York.

The British government is leading multilateral efforts to secure a resolution this month that will kick start official UN negotiations on the ATT next year.

Amnesty International UK and Oxfam warn that the US government’s demands for a clause to be inserted that would give any government the power of veto during the proposed UN negotiating conference could derail efforts to secure an effective treaty. The two agencies added that it could also bring negotiations to a grinding halt.

“The British government has so far been a leading voice for a robust Arms deal and much of this is down to the personal commitment of David Miliband. The UK must not support the veto option, as it would jeopardise the prospects for a treaty it promoted so passionately for on the international stage”, said Debbie Hillier of Oxfam International.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director, Tim Hancock, said:

“Lax controls on the Arms have led to serious human rights violations being committed in many parts of the world, causing untold suffering. It is absolutely essential that a robust international Arms Treaty is established. This is not the time for concession.”

Earlier this week Oxfam and Amnesty International published two reports saying that armed violence costs around 2,000 lives every single day and irresponsible arms transfers are creating human rights crises affecting millions more. .

They called on governments meeting in New York this month to agree to start negotiations for a robust treaty that would control the flow of weapons and ammunition and prevent arms deals that fuel poverty, conflict, armed crime and abuse of human rights.

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