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UN event hears the need for human rights in global Arms Trade Treaty

More than 100 government officials from around the world attended an event at the United Nations where Amnesty International launched a new briefing on the arms trade.   A senior UN peacekeeper working the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is a retired Brigadier General from Pakistan, and the assistant commissioner of police in Jamaica joined with Amnesty International in New York on Tuesday. They described the way irresponsible arms flows have fuelled armed violence in different countries. They described how hundreds of thousands of people are killed each year as a result of foreseeable patterns of armed violence fuelled by the poorly regulated global trade in conventional arms. This terror trade also contributes to hundreds of thousands more men, women and children being injured, raped, displaced, impoverished, and denied other rights established in international law. To ensure real security they called for an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that must require states not to transfer arms internationally where there is a substantial risk that they will be used in serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law. The new briefing paper sets out a workable human rights rule that must be included in an ATT. Amnesty International is keen to ensure that the treaty is effective in delivering real security and protecting lives and livelihoods from the proliferation and misuse of arms. The First Committee of the UN General Assembly is sitting this October to consider the future process towards an ATT. "It is vital that this month States agree a strong mandate to move from discussions on a treaty to formal negotiations," said Brian Wood from Amnesty International. The new Amnesty International briefing shows how the absence of international human rights standards for arms transfers undermines real security across the globe: contributing to unlawful killings in Guinea and Myanmar, armed violence against women in Guatemala, and war crimes in Somalia and the DRC.