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Monday, October 30, 2006

A big win for all of us

Here's an abridged version of an Amnesty International email I got a few days ago. I know that some of you joined the 1,000,000 faces Control Arms campaign.

There is a small irritant in the message (see who can identify it...the only clue I'll give is that he needs to be impeached someday).

For now let's toast the good news. (more on the story)


Dear Friends

As you are probably aware, less than 24 hours ago Amnesty International and
its Control Arms campaign allies, - Oxfam International and the
International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) - achieved an historic
campaign success when a massive majority of states at the UN General
Assembly First Committee voted to start developing an Arms Trade Treaty.
This is a great victory for human rights.

We won 139 votes in favour, with 24 abstentions and only one state opposed
– the USA. Details have been sent to your media, MSP and IGO coordinators.

However, I am writing to you on behalf of the Secretary General to express
our enormous appreciation for all the work you, your members and your staff
and volunteers have put into the Control Arms Campaign since it was
launched in October 2003. With our hundreds of NGO allies, cutting-edge
research and publications, sustained tactical lobbying and media work, and
our innovative approaches to popular campaigning activities which included
the Million Faces Petition, the Control Arms Campaign has gone from
strength to strength. Essentially, we have won the arguments for such a
Treaty and are now obtaining a critical mass of governmental support.

We know that, although this UN vote is a landmark on the road to achieving
an Arms Trade Treaty, there are many challenges ahead. We face stiff
opposition not only from the USA but from other major arms producers
(Russia and China) and also some medium arms suppliers (Iran, Israel,
Egypt, India and Pakistan).

Meanwhile, we hope that you will join us in celebrating this excellent
achievement by our movement (with very special thanks to our Control Arms
campaign teams) and by our erstwhile allies.

Proudly and with warm regards,

Kate Gilmore
On behalf of Irene Khan, Secretary General (AI)

Sure we do my blogging brother Gary! Its a great achievement of the human spirit!
Most human beings are good at heart. How we elected so many who aren't is what is so difficult to understand.
Good news Gary, good news! Let's hope it helps..
Phantastic - and shocking.
Long live the outcome of the initiative - short life to the arms dealers.
Weapons and Israel - two holy cows the US will never abandon, blind faith par excellence ...
Was reading in the paper the other day how gun violence had increased in the US from 1.4 per 1000 to 2.0 per 1000 from 2004 to 2005.
"Concealed carry" laws seem to be the fashion in the states these days.
Reminds me of the passage from the proverbs, "The wicked shall be filled with their own devices."
It's hopeful though to see the rest of the world make progress where the US is stagnant.
Great news!

Love love love the poster:)
Good grief, Gary,
Here in the US (and I read the internets tubes daily) I would have had no idea that this vote was even taking place, much less the fact that the US opposed it. Thanks for the heads up, I am going to cross link this story.
amnesty international is a cool org.
russia and China are also key in blocking UN soldiers from protecting the refugees in Sudan right now who are being mass murdered.
Thanks all for your comments. Yes, it's not a story that hit Faux News or ET but is a small step forward.

Mariamaria - you're so right about the blocks to action in Darfur. Just this week another area was attacked by the Janjawid (militia who seem backed by the govt). Many were killed, including a reported 35 children. If there is one outrage that isn't getting anything done - it's the outrage people feel or should feel about the sustained destruction of the people of Darfur.
Have you seen "Lord of War" (Nicolas Cage movie)? Did a good job dealing with the arms trade to Africa--very depressing. I'm just concerned that as long as the US refuses to comply, those weapons will keep flowing.
Sothis-- it is so weird that you mention Lord of War. Here is what I said at Karena's blog since she cross-posted to Gary's post about this issue:

I knew next to nothing substantial about internatl arms wheeling and dealing until I watched the 2005 Nicolas Cage film "Lord of War." It opened my eyes. Of course the US refused to sign it. Here's 1 of Cage's character's most telling lines:
Yuri Orlov: The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I *do* rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of these men are the enemies of *your* enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss - the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year - sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So. You call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil.

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