India has a unique and historic opportunity to help reduce the human suffering and instability caused by the reckless and poorly regulated trade in weapons, munitions and military and security equipment.
In July 2012, India along with other States will gather at the UN for the final round of negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and Amnesty International says, “India must ensure the treaty has a “Golden Rule” to help protect human rights.”
This rule, according to the rights group, should require States to employ a rigorous, objective, case-by-case risk assessment of a proposed transfer or sale of arms. “Such assessments should ensure that these arms will not be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”
An ATT without the Golden Rule will be meaningless. The treaty must also cover all conventional arms, all types of trade, transfers and transactions and have strong implementation mechanisms.
Disturbingly, global society has no treaty to ensure the strict control of the international trade in conventional arms. That’s why governments can easily license irresponsible arms flows to fuel human atrocities and abuse.
Indians have suffered repeated armed attacks andIndiahas stated that its security interests have been “affected by illicit and irresponsible transfers, especially of small arms, light weapons and explosives.”
Thus the Amnesty says that by signing up to a “Golden Rule” in the Arms Trade Treaty, India will show that it is truly committed to ensuring the security of its own citizens and that of the world.
In this regard, they have launched a global movement for a petition to the Indian Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna, urging India to support the “Golden Rule.” AND THE PETITION READS:
Dear Minister S. M. Krishna,
I am writing to you as the Indian government prepares for the United Nations (UN) Negotiation Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in July 2012.
There is an urgent need for India to support Treaty language that would prevent transfers of conventional arms to recipients where there is a substantial risk that the items will be used for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. An ATT without this “Golden Rule” on human rights will be meaningless.
Amnesty International believes that while authorisation decisions should remain a national prerogative, the ATT should require a rigorous case-by-case assessment of each application for an authorisation of an arms transfer.
I hope India will play a constructive role in ensuring that the ATT is comprehensive, effective and helps ensure the protection of human rights.
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