Governments must build a strong Arms Trade Treaty

Published: 23 April 2007

Open letter to the editor, from 20 journalists and war correspondents

Dear Sir:

Ten years ago, the treaty to ban landmines was signed in Ottawa, Canada. As journalists who have seen the devastating impact of conflict first-hand, we applauded the agreement.

Today a more ambitious treaty is being developed at the United Nations: a global Arms Trade Treaty to regulate sales of all conventional arms. The majority of the world’s governments support the initiative, as well as campaign groups including Oxfam International, Amnesty International and the International Action Network on Small Arms.
Now, the challenge is to build a strong Treaty to stop arms transfers that are likely to fuel serious human rights violations, conflict and poverty.
It is time that all governments took responsibility for the individual tragedies perpetrated with the weapons they supply: the woman raped at gunpoint, the young man crushed under the tracks of a battle tank, the child forced to become a soldier.
Currently, the UN Secretary General is asking governments what they want the Arms Trade Treaty to cover. We call on all governments to listen to the millions of people around the world who live in daily fear of armed violence, and build a Treaty tough enough to protect them.
Yours faithfully,
Christiane Amanpour, CNN
Martin Bell, ex-BBC correspondent
Marcus Bleasdale, freelance photographer
Jimmie Briggs, freelance writer
Sarah Chayes, former NPR correspondent
Mariella Furrer, freelance photographer
Janine Di Giovanni, freelance correspondent for The Times and
Vanity Fair
Sebastian Junger, Vanity Fair
Michael Kamber, freelance photographer for The New York
Times and Vanity Fair
Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker
Don McCullin, freelance photographer
Mike McRoberts, TV3
Paul Moreira, Canal Plus
Florence Muracciole, Journal du Dimanche
Maggie O'Kane, The Guardian
Elizabeth Rubin, The New York Times Magazine
Sorious Samura, documentary maker
Jon Snow, Channel 4 News
Jon Stephenson, freelance reporter, producer
Charles Wheeler, ex-BBC correspondent