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Thirteen more governments announce support for Arms Trade Treaty

Press release from Amnesty International | July 24, 2005

New York City - In the last week thirteen more governments have announced their support for the international Arms Trade Treaty at a UN arms control meeting in New York.

The governments of Benin, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, the Netherlands, Norway, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Turkey, Uganda and the Vatican gave their support, bringing the treaty much closer to being a reality, said campaigners today.

A number of other governments, including the EU countries, some East African states and the Mercosur grouping of Latin American states also made positive statements in favour of stronger export controls based on global minimum standards.

The proposed Arms Trade Treaty has the support of Nobel Laureates and citizens around the world. It would be legally binding and would ban arms transfers if they are likely to contribute to human rights violations or fuel conflict, or undermine development. The treaty would close the loopholes that currently exists between incompatible national arms export laws.

The new expressions of support for the Arms Trade Treaty came during a week-long conference at the UN in New York to review progress in curbing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons under a 2001 agreement, the UN Programme of Action.

While many governments are still failing to meet their obligations under the Programme, it is encouraging that momentum is building towards the agreement of a new legally binding treaty on export controls, said Brian Wood, arms control manager of Amnesty International.

Governments at last seem to be waking up to the fact that hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are killed every year by armed violence. So many governments backing the treaty in just one week is a massive step towards enforcing stricter arms controls, said Anna MacDonald, Director of Policy at Oxfam.

This is a major shift from the last UN review meeting two years ago, when export controls were barely on the table. As a result of strong campaigning from a global network of NGOs, along with the support of states including Kenya, UK, Costa Rica, Norway and Finland, states are recognising the necessity of a legally binding treaty, said Rebecca Peters, Director of IANSA.

For more information please contact:

Amnesty International: James Dyson +44 2074135831. Mobile: +44 7795628367
Oxfam: Brendan Cox. + 44 1865 312 289. Mobile + 44 7957120853
International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA): Peter Robbs +44 1480 465 328

Amnesty International: Wende Gozan + 1 212 633 4247 Mobile: + 1 347 526 5520
International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA): Anthea Lawson: +1 347 831 4081. Emile LeBrun +31 6 4848 2004.

Article has been adapted from a news release issued by Amnesty International. Click here for the original news release.

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