Keira Knightley, Yoko Ono, Scarlett Johansson, Coldplay, Bianca Jagger, Vivienne Westwood, Tim Roth, Emmanuel Jal, Annie Lennox and Kevin Spacey are just some of the names which have joined forces to demand governments take immediate action to help improve regulation of the international arms trade.
Later today, representatives from more than 190 governments meet in New York for the first day of a month-long negotiation at the United Nations to agree an Arms Trade Treaty, which will control the supply of weapons, ammunition and armaments.
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An effective Arms Trade Treaty would be based on a “Golden Rule”: if there is a substantial risk that arms exported to another country are likely to be used for serious human rights abuses; violations of international humanitarian law; or to undermine sustainable development, those arms supplies must be stopped.
More than 30 high-profile Oxfam and Amnesty International supporters including Paul Conroy – the British war photographer injured in the mortar attack that killed Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin and French photo journalist Remi Ochlik, in Homs, Syria, earlier this year – have urged governments to deliver a strong and effective treaty that helps protect human rights by preventing the flow of arms to irresponsible users.
The letter has been sent to the UN Secretary-General, who will play a vital role in the negotiations, by keeping the talks on track to deliver a strong treaty that will really save lives.