On April 2nd 2013, governments at the United Nations adopted by a wide margin an Arms Trade Treaty that will prohibit states from transferring conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons will be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.
In the UN General Assembly 154 states voted to adopt the treaty just days after Iran, North Korea and Syria – three human rights-abusing countries under some form of UN sanctions – staged a cynical move to try and block it. All three voted against the treaty today and 23 other states abstained.
After over 20 years of campaigning, and 6 years of UN deliberations, a Treaty has finally been passed. While in need of some amendments, it provides a strong foundation for future discussion, and shows how the emails, letters, postcards and protests of thousands of people around the world helped to sway an important decision.
My school group was one of the many in New Zealand to take action, inviting members and school peers to sign and illustrate postcards, which we sent off to Obama in support of the Arms Trade Treaty. If you took action too, thank you, and well done in helping to prevent the selling of weaponry to commit crime!
If you’re interested in knowing what options are available to you, go to the Amnesty International website, where you can choose to take action online or to join one of the many groups or branches that Amnesty has.