Former Sudan Child Soldier Emmanuel Jal to Speak Out on Global Arms Trade Treaty with Amnesty International Media Tour March 5-7 in New York and Washington, D.C.

Press Release
February 25, 2013

Former Sudan Child Soldier Emmanuel Jal to Speak Out on Global Arms Trade Treaty with Amnesty International Media Tour March 5-7 in New York and Washington, D.C.

One-on-One Interviews Available; Media Breakfast at National Press Club March 7

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(NEW YORK) – On March 5-7 – just weeks before crucial talks begin at the United Nations to negotiate an international arms trade treaty – Amnesty International will host a media tour in New York and Washington, D.C. with hip hop artist and humanitarian Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier from South Sudan, who will speak out in support of the treaty.

Jal will be available for one-on-one interviews with journalists in both cities and will participate with Amnesty leaders in an open media breakfast at the National Press Club in D.C. (529 14th Street, NW) at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 7.

Jal knows firsthand the horrors of being a child on the frontlines. At the age of seven, he was uprooted from his village and sent to fight with the rebel army in Sudan's brutal civil war. For nearly five years, Jal carried and slept next to an AK-47 that was taller than him. Eventually, Jal and 300 other "lost boys" managed to escape, enduring a 3-month trek on foot without any supplies to reach safety. He was one of only a handful of survivors. The award-winning documentary 'War Child' chronicles Jal's life and his emergence as a musician and humanitarian sharing a message of peace for his war-torn land and beloved Africa.

To schedule an interview with Jal or RSVP to attend the breakfast, call or email Suzanne Trimel, Media Relations Director, at strimel@aiusa.org or 212-633-4150.

Why The World Needs an Arms Trade Treaty

Every minute, at least one person dies as a result of armed violence and conflict while the global arms trade remains unregulated. There is currently no universal piece of legislation to regulate and monitor the international trade of arms. In fact, bananas are under more international trade rules than weapons. A comprehensive international Arms Trade Treaty sets out to achieve that.

Amnesty International is rallying supporters worldwide to urge President Barack Obama to lead a life-saving effort to adopt the treaty when a second round of talks opens with member states at the United Nations on March 18 and continue through March 28.

Supported by two-thirds of the world's countries, the arms trade treaty would prevent arms from being sold or traded to dictators, warlords, and other human rights abusers who murder and torture civilians, recruit child soldiers, and commit mass rapes in conflict zones.

People across the world have been working to secure an international arms treaty for over 20 years. With the goal close at hand, Amnesty International USA is fighting a campaign against the gun lobby, including the National Rifle Association, which is riling up its supporters with false claims that the treaty will threaten U.S. Second Amendment rights when in fact, the treaty will have no bearing on domestic gun laws.

The treaty would establish common global standards for how countries import, export, and transfer conventional arms and small weapons. Most importantly, it would prohibit arms transfers where there is substantial evidence that such weapons would lead to serious human rights violations.

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.