Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Protest calls for arms trade treaty

Students from around the UK lie on the ground during an Amnesty International 'die-in' protest, to illustrate the impact of the poorly regulated arms trade, at Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre in central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2013. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Students from around the UK lie on the ground during an Amnesty International 'die-in' protest, to illustrate the impact of the poorly regulated arms trade, at Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre in central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2013. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Students from around the UK have gathered in London to call for an effective arms trade treaty.

Around 100 people staged a protest in which they pretended to die, to illustrate the 1,500 deaths which Amnesty International claims are caused by weapons each day.

They urged the Government to lead the call for an effective arms trade treaty at a United Nations (UN) conference in New York on March 18.

David Grimason, whose two-year-old son Alistair was shot dead by a gunman who was carrying an illegal weapon at a Turkish cafe in 2003, attended the demonstration at Amnesty International's UK headquarters in London.

He said: "The treaty will try to regulate the flow of arms - the import and export between nations - to stop weapons getting into the hands of people like the man who killed my son."

Mr Grimason, 41, from Aberdeen, added: "People are living in misery. There's torture, rape and intimidation, all with weapons that are being misused.

"If governments can tidy up the arms industry, regulate it and stop reckless transfers, then we can maybe see an end to these kind of abuses."

A previous attempt to agree a treaty failed last year, but Verity Coyle, from Amnesty International, was optimistic that an agreement can be reached.

She said: "192 governments will be gathered at the UN to have a second attempt to get this groundbreaking legislation agreed.

"They faltered in July when the US blocked the treaty. But we're hopeful now that we can go ahead, fix the loopholes and create a treaty that ultimately saves lives."

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