Activists and supporters of the Control Arms Campaign in more than 50 countries will be taking part in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) week of action, starting on Saturday 13 September.
The World is Watching week will see campaigners urge their governments to reach an agreement on an effective Arms Trade Treaty as quickly as possible. UN member states will consider such negotiations at the General Assembly meeting of the First Committee on Disarmament and Security in October.
Each year at least a third of a million people are killed with conventional weapons. Many more are injured, abused, forcibly displaced and bereaved as a result of armed violence. Many of the weapons used to commit these violations are sourced on the poorly regulated international arms market.
Events planned for the week of action include awareness raising football matches in Mali, a street march in Tanzania, a film screening in Edinburgh, a parade in Mongolia and a stunt outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Spain.
The ATT week of action is part of Amnesty International’s celebration of the 60th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also coincides with the release of the Amnesty International report, Blood at the Crossroads: Making the case for a global arms trade treaty. Released on 17 September, the report describes how arms supplies fuel serious human rights abuses around the world.
Worldwide support for a UN process to develop a global Arms Trade Treaty was reflected when 153 states voted in favour (1 against (USA), and 24 abstained) during the General Assembly in December 2006 and during 2007 when almost 100 submitted their views to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, proposing human rights protection as one of the top considerations.
Throughout 2008, a group of government experts from 28 countries has been meeting at the UN to discuss the content of the treaty. With further successful campaigning, it is hoped that discussions leading to the negotiation of the treaty could continue into 2009.