(New York) – Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International USA managing director, government relations, made the following comments today in response to the National Rifle Association’s misleading statement at the United Nations about the Arms Trade Treaty talks underway by member states:
"The string of distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies spewed by the National Rifle Association today about the arms control treaty is simply breathtaking. Spreading misinformation may be a good tool for raising money and gaining converts. But these distortions only give credence to allegations that the NRA, by drawing a false connection between the arms trade treaty and the Second Amendment, has another more troubling motive -- to protect the lucrative weapons industry that bankrolls the organization and benefits immensely from the current free-for-all in the global trade in weapons and ammunition."
"The facts are very straightforward. If the member states of the United Nations adopt an Arms Trade Treaty, it will have no affect at all on the ability of Americans to own guns—for hunting, shooting or any other legal purpose. This is confirmed in conference documents and speeches by U.N. and U.S. officials."
"What the ATT would do is save countless lives around the world by keeping weapons out of the hands of those who use them to commit human rights abuses – like those being committed right now in Syria, whose government has killed more than 10,000 of its own citizens."
"Far from preventing hunting or other leisure activities involving guns, this treaty will instead help prevent warlords, armed militias and dictators from killing, raping, enlisting child soldiers, and otherwise abusing men, women and children around the world."
"Armed violence kills one person worldwide every minute. The gun lobby should at least acknowledge this chilling fact, even if it is not willing to acknowledge the true motives behind its opposition to a treaty that might actually be able to do something about it."
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.