UN / ARMS TRADE TREATY

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27-Jul-2012 00:04:15
On the last day of month-long negotiations at the United Nations on an international arms trade treaty, arms control activists today (27 July) said that whatever the outcome on the treaty itself, "tremendous" progress had been achieved.

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STORY: UN / ARMS TRADE TREATY
TRT: 4.15
SOURCE: UNTV / IRIN / UNMIL / MINUSTAH
RESTRICTION: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 27 JULY 2012, NEW YORK CITY / FILE


SHOTLIST:

FILE – UNTV – RECENT, NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, Knotted Gun Sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reutersward at UN Headquarters

UNTV – 27 JULY 2012, NEW YORK CITY

2. Pan right, screen saying “United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty” to conference room entrance
3. Various shots, delegates talking inside conference room before the final, closed meeting
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Oliver Sprague, Programme Director Military Security and Police, Amnesty International UK
“It’s been an incredibly intense, emotional rollercoaster of a month here in New York. We’ve gone up and down, the negotiations have been frantic and tense, and we’re here on the final day here, and late last night we thought we had a breakthrough, we thought that there was a consensus in the room to move forward on agreement, and now we’re quite concerned going into the final afternoon that it looks like we may not get the agreement that we hoped for.”
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Anna Macdonald, Head of Arms Control, Oxfam:
“Some states have started saying that they want more time, so we’ll wait and see what’s going to happen this afternoon, and whether they’re going to conclude the session this afternoon or whether they’re going to be requesting more time. What’s really positive about it and what there is definitely a huge momentum around is that we have a very large majority of states who have agreed that the arms trade needs to be brought under control and needs to be regulated against rules around international humanitarian law and international human rights law. That’s a first for conventional arms so it’s a very big step forward.”
6. Various shots, delegates talking inside conference room before the final, closed meeting
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Oliver Sprague, Programme Director Military Security and Police, Amnesty International UK
“It’s not just the United States. Russia made a similar intervention, India last night made a similar intervention, and right the way through the process there has been a small number of states who have not shared the common view, so we had the likes of Iran, Syria, North Korea, Egypt, Venezuela, Cuba, they’ve been constantly, constantly been raising their concerns. Those concerns are different from the majority view, but in a consensus process, everybody’s views are important.”

FILE – IRIN – OCTOBER 2008, SANAA, YEMEN

8. Various shots, man with rifle in gun shop

FILE – JULY 2008, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (C.A.R.)

9. Various shots, groups of armed men

UNTV – 27 JULY 2012, NEW YORK CITY

10. SOUNDBITE (English) Oliver Sprague, Programme Director Military Security and Police, Amnesty International UK
“Strict controls on the use and sale and transfer of conventional weapons are essential to protect human rights. In our own research, sixty percent of all of the people that suffer human rights violations, have those rights violated by using conventional weapons, at gunpoint for example.”

FILE – IRIN – UNDATED, CONGO BRAZZAVILLE

11. Med shot, guns are placed onto a pile

FILE - UNMIL - 17 JUNE 2010, MONROVIA, LIBERIA

12. Wide shot, worker puts AK-47 magazines into metal recycling machine
13. Wide shot, scrap metal from destroyed weapons emerges in belt

UNTV – 27 JULY 2012, NEW YORK CITY

14. SOUNDBITE (English) Anna Macdonald, Head of Arms Control, Oxfam:
“At the moment there aren’t any global regulations on the arms trade. We have global regulations on everything from bananas to iPods, but nothing on the deadly machineguns that kill people every day. The arms trade treaty is urgent, it’s beyond urgent, we should have had it years ago, but we definitely need it now. The weapons that flood in some of the world’s worst conflict zones every day, and end up in the hands of human rights abusers, that needs to stop. It’s time to turn off the tap, and the arms trade treaty is the opportunity for states to make that happen.”

FILE – IRIN – OCTOBER 2008, SANAA, YEMEN

15. Various shots, men examining rifle in gun shop
16. Close up, pistols




UNTV – 27 JULY 2012, NEW YORK CITY

17. SOUNDBITE (English) Oliver Sprague, Programme Director Military Security and Police, Amnesty International UK
“For them, they are concerned that any agreement reached here at the United Nations will have an impact on their right to acquire weapons within the United States. Now I can categorically tell you, that that is not the case. The treaty only deals with the international transfer, the movement of weaponry internationally across borders. It has absolutely nothing to do with states’ sovereign rights to maintain whatever guns within their society that they want.”

FILE – UNODC - 17 MARCH 2010, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA

18. Zoom out, pile of small arms

UNTV – 27 JULY 2012, NEW YORK CITY

19. SOUNDBITE (English) Oliver Sprague, Programme Director Military Security and Police, Amnesty International UK
“It’s absolutely not back to square one. They’ve made tremendous progress here, by setting a clear set of principles, a draft agreement that has the majority view, of the vast majority of states here. So that process will continue, we have a set of ideas, a set of rules, a set of principles, a standard now that is accepted that it is no longer acceptable to sell weapons to serious human rights violators.”
20. Wide shot, conference room


STORYLINE:

On the last day of month-long negotiations at the United Nations on an international arms trade treaty, arms control activists today (27 July) said that whatever the outcome on the treaty itself, “tremendous” progress has been achieved.

The UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, a four-week gathering that began at UN Headquarters in New York on 2 July, has brought together the UN’s 193 member states to negotiate what conference organizers have called the most important initiative ever regarding conventional arms regulation.

Government delegations were set to hash out their final differences on a draft treaty this afternoon, with the closed meeting projected to last well into the evening hours.

In an interview with UNifeed ahead of that meeting, Amnesty International arms expert Oliver Sprague said despite a month of equally long nights, non-governmental organizations like his were now “quite concerned” that the outcome they’ve been hoping for could be slipping away.

Oxfam’s head of arms control Anna Macdonald told UNifeed that the draft text now under discussion “still has some holes”, and some countries were saying they needed more time to consider it. Still, the fact that “a large majority” of countries had recognized the need for regulation of the international arms trade was “a very big step forward”.

Sprague said that the biggest hold-up on this, closing day of the conference had been a concern raised by the United States, but that Russia, India and several other countries including Syria, Iran, Egypt, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba had also “not shared the common view” throughout the negotiations.

Sprague stressed that an arms trade treaty was “absolutely vital” to protect human rights, citing statistics gathered by Amnesty International according to which sixty percent of human rights violations worldwide are the result of conventional arms, often perpetrated “at gunpoint”.

Macdonald added that currently the international trade in bananas or iPods is more strictly regulated than that of small arms.

On the role of pro-gun organizations such as the United States’ National Rifle Association (NRA) in shaping the debate, Sprague said such groups’ claims that a treaty would infringe on American gun owners’ rights were “not true”, because the treaty covered only the trade in arms across borders and had “absolutely nothing to do with states’ sovereign rights to maintain whatever guns within their society that they want”.

Asked what would happen to international arms control efforts if the treaty failed tonight, Sprage said they would “absolutely not be back to square one”. Instead the process would continue and could be referred to the General Assembly, for example.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged member states earlier this month to work towards a treaty, stressing that a set of rules on this matter is long overdue, as poorly regulated international arms transfers are fuelling civil conflicts, destabilizing regions, and empowering terrorists and criminal networks.
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