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AIUSA Applauds President Obama’s Call to Ratify OAS Firearms Convention

WASHINGTON -  Amnesty International USA
applauds the president’s reported plans to tackle the proliferation of
small arms and light weapons by calling on the U.S. Senate to ratify the
Organization of American States (OAS) Firearms Convention that has contributed
to massive human rights violations in Latin America over the past decade.

“The United States has long taken a back
seat in supporting multilateral efforts to tackle irresponsible and illegal
conventional arms transfers. President Obama’s call for the U.S. Senate
to ratify this treaty signals its recognition of the importance of working
multilaterally on an issue key to preventing human rights violations,”
said Colby Goodman, Amnesty International USA's ’s arms expert.
 
Otherwise known as the Inter-American Convention
Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives,
Ammunition, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), this treaty includes key
provisions designed to help thwart illicit trafficking in firearms.  For
example, it requires signatories to keep records needed to trace and identify
illicitly trafficked firearms, key to helping the United State track down
U.S. arms smuggled into South America.

In 2003, Amnesty International participated
in efforts to develop Model Brokering Regulations connected with the OAS
Firearms Convention, which included key human rights provisions.  The
regulation requires signatories to:

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 “prohibit brokering activities
and refuse to grant licenses if it has reason to believe that the brokering
activities will, or seriously threaten to:  (a) result in acts of
genocide or crimes against humanity; (b) violate humans rights contrary
to international law; and, (c) lead to the perpetration of war crimes contrary
to international law….”

Since late 2003, Amnesty International,
as part of the Control Arms Campaign,
has been encouraging governments to support such human rights provisions
in an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) being discussed at the United Nations.  More
than 145 countries have signaled their support for the treaty. The ATT
is currently under review by the Obama administration. AIUSA encourages
swift endorsement of that treaty.
         
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 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.

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