Just days left to secure a strong Arms Trade Treaty

24th Jul 2012

Foreign Secretary William Hague

by Lisa Rutherford, UK Campaigns Manager, Oxfam GB in New York City

Email the UK government now to demand a bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty > 

After a decade of campaigning and three very long weeks of talks, we're now entering the last few days of the Arms Trade Treaty conference. Even in the midst of frustration it's important to remember that what started as an idea dismissed as wildly naive, and supported by just three countries, is now being negotiated by the 193 states which make up the UN. 

But alongside the dozens of supportive states and strong civil society organisations, there are sceptical countries who are deliberately delaying the talks and arguing for a weak treaty that would have little effect. 

On Friday, 74 countries stood up and delivered a statement which underlined what a strong and robust Arms Trade Treaty should contain. They stated that arms transfers be denied if there is substantial risk that the weapons could be used for serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and that all conventional arms are encompassed, including small arms, light weapons and ammunition. 

The UK was not one of the countries that signed on to this statement. 

We need the UK government to understand that's not acceptable, and that years of leadership mustn't be thrown away in the next few days. So we've set up an email action to Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt and Foreign Secretary William Hague, demanding that the UK government does not compromise with sceptical states and stands up for a strong treaty. 

Email the UK government now to add your voice and demand a strong treaty > 

It's going to take effort on a herculean scale to deliver a treaty that will stop the flow of deadly weapons and ammunition which results in nearly 2,000 people dying every day. But it is still possible and we need to get the UK government to step up and show leadership in the next few days. Thank you for your action.