The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Irina Fuhrmann, Oxfam, +1 917 331 7235,
Judith Higgin, Amnesty International Press Office, +44 (0) 207 413 5810,
Louise Rimmer, IANSA, +44 (0) 7900 242 869,

Landslide UN Vote in Favor of Arms Trade Treaty


Today 147 states at the
United Nations voted overwhelmingly to move forward with work on an
Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The Control Arms campaign, which represents
millions of campaigners around the world welcomed the vote but called
for more urgency from states to advance the process quickly and ensure
a strong Treaty with human rights and development at its heart.

states supported for the Treaty and 2 others subsequently added their
names, an increase on the 139 states who voted to start the UN process
in October 2006, showing increasing global consensus in favor of the
treaty. 116 of the yes voters also co-sponsored the resolution. The
vote was particularly strong in Africa, South and Central America and
Europe indicating strong demand for arms control both from countries
severely affected by armed violence and from major exporters. Only the
US and Zimbabwe voted against, ignoring increasing global consensus for
an ATT.

Every day, over 1000 people are killed directly with
firearms and many thousands more die indirectly as a consequence of
armed violence or are driven from their homes, forced off their land,
raped, tortured or maimed. Since the UN process started in December
2006, approximately 695,000 people have been killed directly with
firearms, illustrating the urgent need for an Arms Trade Treaty. Any
further delay means more lost lives.

Brian Wood from Amnesty International said:

big vote today moves the world closer to an Arms Trade Treaty with
respect for human rights at its heart, the only way such a treaty can
really stop the carnage. Today's decision is that the principles of the
UN Charter and other state obligations must be considered central to
the Treaty. It is shameful that the US and Zimbabwe governments have
taken an unprincipled stand today against a Treaty that would save so
many lives and livelihoods."

Anna Macdonald from Oxfam International, said:

governments now support an Arms Trade Treaty and they must now move
forward with urgency. Today's vote is one step closer to turning off
the running tap of irresponsible arms transfers which have flooded the
world's conflict zones for decades, fueling death, injury and poverty,
such as is happening now in DRC. However we need leaps forward not
steps, as every day lost means hundreds more lives lost."

Mark Marge from the International Action Network on Small Arms said:

vote is a victory for the millions of campaigners in countries around
the world. But we cannot afford to rest. All those against the misuse
of arms will continue to pressure their governments to move quickly to
implement a strong, legally binding treaty."

Oxfam International is a global movement of people who are fighting inequality to end poverty and injustice. We are working across regions in about 70 countries, with thousands of partners, and allies, supporting communities to build better lives for themselves, grow resilience and protect lives and livelihoods also in times of crisis.