Arms Trade: Obama urged to ensure human rights protections

When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visit Perth today, Amnesty International and a coalition of NGOs, including supporters of Oxfam, Act for Peace, ActionAid and Medical Association for Prevention of War, will stage an event calling on the new Obama administration to work to ensure the highest possible human rights standards and protections are embedded in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

Ms Clinton and Mr Panetta will be attending the Australia United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) defence talks at the Fraser’s complex on Fraser Avenue, Kings Park, Perth.

Perth residents, human rights activists and non-government organisations will gather at the corner of Fraser Avenue and Malcolm Street, Kings Park, 12.30pm-1pm. They will lie on a carpet of red fabric with a backdrop of tombstones, to demonstrate the lives lost every year to the arms trade. Participants will aim to send a powerful message to President Obama: step up and show that the US administration is serious when it comes to protecting human rights.

The coalition of NGOs welcomed the Obama’s administration’s reaffirmed support for the Arms Trade Treaty, a historic treaty to adequately regulate the global arms trade. The US was among 157 countries at the UN General Assembly’s First Committee who last week voted in favour of finalising the ATT next March.

However, the US has previously tried to weaken the human rights rules and the scope of the Treaty - by excluding ammunition, and by only favouring watered-down rules on key issues covered in the text.

Amnesty International, Oxfam, Act for Peace, ActionAid and Medical Association for Prevention of War urge the US, as one of the most influential voices in the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations, to support a strong Treaty that prioritises human rights. They also encourage the Australian Government to continue taking a leadership role in the upcoming March negotiations and work to ensure the inclusion of the strongest possible human rights protections.

  • What: Arms Trade: Obama urged to ensure human rights protections
  • Where: Juncture of Fraser Avenue and Malcolm Street, Kings Park, Perth
  • Date: Wednesday 14 November
  • Time: 12.30pm-1pm

(Thanks to Amnesty who issued this Media Advisory and have organised today's event).