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India urged to support arms trade treaty
Members of Amnesty International and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), jointly appealed to the Government of India to support the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in the United Nations to save people's lives and protect their livelihoods worldwide
MEMBERS OF Amnesty International and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), have jointly appealed to the Government of India to support the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in United Nations (UN) to save people’s lives and protect their livelihoods worldwide. They deplored the attempts of some governments, including India, China, Russia and USA to block the process in the UN.

In the ’Global Arms Trade Treaty Week of Action’ organised in Hyderabad, by Amnesty International and PUCL on September 19, 2008, the officials alleged that along with some other countries, India too, is attempting to delay the process in the UN.

Civil society activist, Prof Keshav Rao Jadhav, launching the Amnesty International Report ’Blood at the Crossroads: Making the case for a global Arms Trade Treaty,’ at a programme held in Press Club, appealed to the civil society to pressurise the Indian government to support ATT.

Speaking on this occasion, Amnesty International local coordinator Ch Narendra told that every year, more than three lakh people are being killed with conventional weapons. Millions 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 from the poorly regulated international arms market.

The failure of over 80 per cent of states to establish laws to control arms brokering and arms transportation makes this problem worse. Narendra also told that it was strategically necessary for the international human rights movement to bring in an effective ATT. “In the UN General Assembly deliberations, that is starting in the First Committee during October, we must come up with a solution that enables continuing the progress towards an early negotiation of an effective ATT”, added Narendra.

He told that Amnesty International India has successfully launched ‘The Global Arms Trade Treaty Week of Action’ in 25 states at 30 locations in India on September 13, 2008. The ’week of Action’ was marked by different campaign activities.

Amnesty International’s new report detailed nine case studies of the catastrophic human rights consequences of unrestrained arms trading. The report says that world leaders should adopt a ’Golden Rule’ to help protect human rights when arms are transferred from one country to another.

From the ongoing conflict in Darfur, military crackdowns in Myanmar and Guinea to the proliferation of sectarian violence in Iraq, weapons are used every where. The report shows how and why the current variations and loopholes in national arms legislations allow massive violations of human rights.
It also demonstrates that without an effective human rights provision, a global Arms Trade Treaty could fail to protect the most vulnerable. Governments must prevent arms transfers where there is a substantial risk of human rights violations. PUCL state general secretary, Jaya Vindhyala and High Court advocate, K Chandrasekhar, were also present.
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