Worldwide: Activists from across the world target countries to demand tough arms controls

People from South Africa, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil are joining faith leaders and activists from Amnesty International and Oxfam on 13 September – the Control Arms Day of Action – to call on the London embassies of these five key governments to support a treaty that will make it illegal to sell weapons if they will be used to abuse human rights. Simultaneous events are taking place in 16 countries round the world.

As the UN General Assembly meets this month it will have its best chance yet to make a real difference to arms proliferation and to reduce armed violence. Several countries, including the UK have proposed an international Arms Treaty to place tough restrictions on who arms can be sold to. On 14 September the FCO is assembling ambassadors from around the world to discuss arms controls.

Currently 50 countries support the idea of an Arms Treaty. For a resolution to be passed at the UN this October, a majority of 192 member states must vote in favour. South Africa, India, and others have not yet supported the proposal for an Arms Treaty but campaigners are urging these countries to give their backing to what could be a unique opportunity to control the deadly trade in weapons.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

"The international community now has a golden opportunity to stop the flow of weapons into the wrong hands. It is crucial that an Arms Treaty is formally on the UN agenda.

“We are pleased that the UK has led the process in putting forward a draft resolution for an Arms Treaty. However, the draft does not go far enough: there is currently no reference in the resolution to human rights law which is a serious omission.”

Campaigners are also concerned that the current process could risk dragging on for several years.

Anna McDonald of Oxfam said, “Currently, 1,000 people are killed every day by armed violence. Governments must take this opportunity to make sure that progress towards an Arms Treaty is speedy so no more lives are lost unnecessarily."

The organisations are calling on people in the UK to support this campaign by emailing the embassies of target countries, using an e-action at www.amnesty.org.uk/arms

As well as meeting with the Ambassadors of the target countries, campaigners will also be using a new technology, developed by Daniel Langlois, the man behind the 3D effects in films such as Harry Potter, Titanic and Gladiator, which will allow them to show some of the One Million Faces of people from around the world who have joined the Million Faces petition.

Find out more about the Control Arms Campaign /p>

Notes to Editors

- The Global Day of Action on 13th September is the beginning of a critical phase in the campaign to control the Arms. The visit to embassies in London on that day will support lobbying in Nigeria and South Africa, as well as campaigning events and lobbying activities in other key states around the world.

- At the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly this autumn, the world’s governments will consider a draft resolution calling for an International Arms Treaty.

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