"Profound" White House Signature on Arms Trade Treaty is Pledge to End Deadly, Unscrupulous Arms Trade

Press Release
September 24, 2013

"Profound" White House Signature on Arms Trade Treaty is Pledge to End Deadly, Unscrupulous Arms Trade

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

(NEW YORK) - Amnesty International USA issued the following comments today in response to news that Secretary of State John Kerry will sign the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Wednesday on behalf of the United States:

"All Americans should celebrate that the United States has pledged to do its part to end the unscrupulous trade in deadly weapons used by dictators, war lords and criminal gangs to commit atrocities," said Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of AIUSA.

"This treaty is simple but profound. It says that nations must not export arms and ammunition where there is an 'overriding risk' that they will be used to commit serious human rights violations. It will help keep arms out of the hands of the wrong people: those responsible for upwards of 1,500 deaths worldwide every day."

Amnesty International and the Arms Trade Treaty:

Twenty years ago, Amnesty International campaigners and a handful of partners developed the idea for a global treaty that would stop the irresponsible flow of weapons to dictators and others who use them to commit human rights atrocities. Though initially greeted with skepticism, even mocked as simply too audacious, the idea drew support from luminaries like Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond Tutu and Oscar Arias, giving momentum to a worldwide effort by hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who lobbied their governments to push the treaty forward. The movement ultimately produced a significant human rights victory on April 2, 2013, when the treaty was overwhelmingly adopted by the United Nations.

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.