UN Secretary General receives world's largest photo petition for tougher global controls on the arms trade

Published: 26 June 2006

The Control Arms campaign, Amnesty International, Oxfam International and International Action Network on Small Arms, today presented a visual petition by one million people from over 160 countries calling for tough global controls on the arms trade and an Arms Trade Treaty.

The Million Faces Petition was handed over to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan by Julius Arile, a survivor of armed violence from Kenya and the millionth person to sign the petition. Containing the images of a million people from around the world, it is the world's largest photo petition.

Secretary General of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, Executive Director of Oxfam International, Jeremy Hobbs and Director of IANSA Rebecca Peters represented the Control Arms campaign at the handover, which came at the opening of the United Nations World Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

Julius Arile, a Kenyan armed violence survivor, said: ”I am the millionth person to have joined the Million Faces Petition. I have done so because my country Kenya has suffered a great deal as a result of small arms. I would like this UN conference to agree global rules for small arms sales. We owe people like me from all over the world, this one thing.”

Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said: “The trade in small arms weapons continues unhindered to some of the world’s worst perpetrators of human rights abuses, thanks to the hypocrisy, greed and inaction of governments. The Million Faces petition is a powerful call to action from ordinary people who want tougher international arms controls. They have one message for the world’s leaders: stop irresponsible weapons transfers that fuel death, destruction and despair around the globe.”

Executive Director of Oxfam International, Jeremy Hobbs said: "Small arms, more than any other types of weapons, are causing daily havoc in countries on every continent. Up to 1000 people a day die from gunshot wounds; thousands more are injured. And for every person shot, there is a family left to fend for itself; a family left without a child; or a family that must now look after a relative with a serious disability."

Director of IANSA, Rebecca Peters said: “Many countries across all regions now support global standards for arms transfers. The minority of governments who still oppose progress say that the world is not yet ready for global arms export principles. The families of the 1000 people killed by guns every day would disagree…as do the million people who have spoken up to demand that this meeting take action.”

Copies of the full statements made on the occasion of the handover of the Million Faces Petition are attached.

Contact Information

For interviews and further information, please contact:
Oxfam: Caroline Green on + 1 202 321 7858
Amnesty International: James Dyson on +1 646 8122703, or +44 (0)7795 628367
IANSA: Anthea Lawson +1 347 220 2916