Valentines Day at the Prep Com (the Arms Trade Treaty Preparatory Committee) – a perfect excuse to do some sort of campaigning activity at the UN. Our message to the diplomats this morning as they entered the room was a very simple one:
“Show some LOVE for the Arms Trade Treaty”
At negotiations like these it is so easy to get caught up in the technical details around “rules of procedure” and things like “consensus decision making”, but for the day of love we wanted to remind the diplomats why they were there, namely to agree a robust treaty that will save lives.
To help to get this Valentines message across we made Valentines cards that said:
On the back of these cards we wrote out the key things that the treaty would need to include in order to be bullet proof.
2012 must deliver an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that:
- Stops the transfer of arms or ammunition where there is a substantial risk that they will be used:
- In serious violations of international human rights or humanitarian law
- To fuel armed violence, acts of genocide, crimes against humanity
- To facilitate terrorist attacks, gender-based violence, violent or organised crime
- To affect regional security, undermine socio-economic development or impair poverty reduction
As well as the Valentines cards we had some Valentines stickers made (with the image at the top of this blog). It was fantastic to see diplomats and campaigners alike wearing these little Valentines stickers on their suit jackets. The Belgium Ambassador even stated in one of his addresses “We should show some love to all those who have shown their love for the ATT”. The German Ambassador also quoted our Valentines card in his address, saying that they wanted the treaty to be “bullet-proof”.
740,000 people a year are killed by armed violence. That’s 2000 people a day or more than one person every minute. This deadly trade fuels poverty, conflict and human rights abuses. As we get closer and closer to finally having this treaty after more than 10 years of campaigning let's remember why this treaty so necessary and make sure the end result is fit for purpose.
For Live updates from the talks inside the UN please follow @controlarms and @Oxfam on Twitter. Follow Kate Hughes' journey in New York this week on this blog and speak out now for a bullet-proof Arms Trade Treaty!