Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

17 July 2012

Arms trade: Obama urged to reject ‘human rights escape clause’

Arms trade: Obama urged to reject ‘human rights escape clause’
President Obama must demonstrate true leadership by rejecting proposals that will severely undermine human rights in the Arms Trade Treaty

President Obama must demonstrate true leadership by rejecting proposals that will severely undermine human rights in the Arms Trade Treaty

© AP GraphicsBank


With the ATT negotiations entering a critical final phase, it is time for President Obama to step up and show that the US administration is serious when it comes to protecting human rights
Source: 
Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA
Date: 
Tue, 17/07/2012

Amnesty International today called on President Obama to demonstrate true leadership during crucial negotiations on the arms trade by rejecting proposals that will severely undermine human rights.

Governments are currently in talks at the UN in New York to agree a potentially historic Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that could help end the devastation caused by the irresponsible and poorly regulated arms trade.

President Obama’s officials have indicated they want the treaty to include an escape clause that would allow national security considerations to override any serious human rights concerns when deciding to supply arms.

“With the ATT negotiations entering a critical final phase, it is time for President Obama to step up and show that the US administration is serious when it comes to protecting human rights,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.

“Any escape clause that overrides human rights in the ATT would send a signal that countries can carry on with business as usual. The continuing loss of civilian life in Syria is a stark reminder as to why a robust ATT in which human rights are paramount is needed. Millions of lives depend on strong human rights protections being in the final agreement.”

Amnesty International is urging governments to ensure a ‘Golden Rule’ on human rights is included in the treaty. This would mean that if there is a substantial risk arms due to be supplied by a country are likely to be used to commit serious human violations the arms transfer shall not take place.
Many governments and most US allies support this position. However, some influential states including China, Russia and US have been promoting weaker rules.

The US China, Syria, and Egypt have voiced their opposition for ammunition to be included in the treaty.

“As the world’s biggest arms exporter and as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council the US has a special duty to spearhead these negotiations to a successful conclusion. The final two weeks provide a major opportunity for President Obama to lead the way in achieving this,” said Nossel.

Take action:

Click. Boom. Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers.

Follow #armstreaty @amnestyonline on twitter

News

11 July 2014

Refugees in Nairobi are appealing against a controversial ruling that would force thousands of Somalis from their homes to live in squalid overcrowded camps in north Kenya.

Read more »
19 June 2014

Chile’s commitment to decriminalize abortion in cases where the pregnancy was the result of rape, the woman’s life is in danger and when the foetus is not viable is a positive... Read more »

10 July 2014

The sentencing of five media workers in Myanmar each to 10 years’ imprisonment with hard labour for “disclosing state secrets” makes today a dark day for freedom of expression... Read more »

11 July 2014

Amnesty International has gathered graphic and compelling evidence of savage beatings and other torture meted out against activists, protesters and journalists in eastern... Read more »

14 July 2014

A new briefing sheds light on a growing pattern of sectarian killings and abductions by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham since the group seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-... Read more »