World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Annan receives arms petition signed by one-million

Annan receives arms petition by one-millionth signer, vows to transmit call onward

The Million Faces Petition, which organizers billed as the world’s largest appeal for tougher global controls on the arms trade, was presented to Secretary-General Kofi Annan today in New York by a consortium of international groups as well as the one millionth petitioner – a survivor of gun violence from Kenya.

“I am honoured to receive this petition in recognition of the people in more than 160 countries who have supported it, and given it a million ‘faces,’” Mr. Annan said in accepting the call from the Control Arms Campaign, Amnesty International and Oxfam International, the International Action Network on Small Arms and the young survivor.

The Secretary-General pledged to transmit the petitioners’ call for an international arms trade treaty to the President of the Review Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, which is currently meeting at the UN to review a 2001 plan of action against the scourge. “It will be in their hands to decide the future direction of the initiative.”

Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said the proliferation of small arms “has facilitated some of the most appalling human rights tragedy of our times, including genocide, ethnic cleansing, massacres, mass displacement, torture and ill treatment.” She blamed “hypocrisy, greed, and inaction of governments” for allowing the trade to continue.

Ms. Khan pointed to the effect on women and children. “From the bedroom to the battlefield, whether killed by violent partners or raped at gun point, women and girls have paid a high price for the unregulated trade in small arms. Children as young as eight years of age have been drawn into conflicts as soldiers.”

“Up to 1000 people a day die from gunshot wounds, and thousands more are injured,” the Executive Director of Oxfam, Jeremy Hobbs, said. “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.”

The Million Faces petition is a photo petition from people in more than 160 countries who recognize the small arms issue and have signed and supported the initiative.

Julius Arile, a Kenyan armed violence survivor, presented the Secretary General with the Million Faces Petition showing the many faces on the plaque.

“I used my first AK47 (gun) at the age of 15. Small arms are dangerous. Guns have affected my life, have killed my friends and my brother,” he told the UN News Service. “This petition means a lot to me and the people of Kenya,” added Mr. Arile, whose brother died from gun violence and who has witnessed other numerous crimes caused by small arms.

The armed violence survivor spoke of trading in his weapon in 2004 for money during a local peace agreement, “I am much better now, at that time when I surrendered my AK47, for a price, and then I went down and told my friends that these arms are no good, and to leave those guns.”

In an appeal to delegates, he added: “I would like this UN conference to agree [to] global rules for small arms sales. We owe it to people like me from all over the world.”

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: Zimbabwe - Meet The New Bosses

At 75, Mnangagwa is not exactly what you’d call a new broom. As many observers have pointed out, his track record has been one of unswerving dedication to Mugabe ever since the days of anti-colonial insurgency... To these guys, things had to change in Zimbabwe, so that things could remain the same. More>>


Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>


Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>


Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC