Salmond backs call for ban on illegal arms trade
The Scottish Government has given its support to the global campaign to crack down on the transfer of arms that are used to break international humanitarian and human rights law.
First Minister Alex Salmond has also pledged to call on the United Nations to press for change at international level.
Speaking during a meeting with Amnesty International at Parliament today, Mr Salmond made the commitment to campaigner David Grimason – whose infant son was tragically shot and killed in Turkey in 2003 and who now campaigns against the illegal arms trade.
The meeting took place ahead of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Conference, which is due to begin in New York next week and which Mr Grimason will attend.
The First Minister said:
"The Scottish Government is strongly supportive of an international arms trade treaty.
"Securing this kind of agreement among the nations of the world would mean a huge step forward in preventing human rights abuses.
"The unregulated arms trade has a significant and all too visible impact on men, women and children, particularly in vulnerable nations.
"Of course, no matter how strong the Scottish Government’s support, this will also require action at an international level and I will be highlighting the Scottish Government’s support to the UN in advance of next week’s conference."
David Grimason said:
"I welcomed the opportunity to meet the First Minister today. I am extremely heartened by the support which the Scottish Government has given to our campaign for a bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty. The people of Scotland have shown that this is something which is of vital importance and have campaigned strenuously for this treaty for nearly a decade.
"For me it has been a very personal campaign and it is incredible to think that we are now on the brink of finally achieving our goal - an Arms Trade Treaty which will save the lives of millions of people around the world.
"Next week will see the start of historic UN negotiations In New York and we need to ensure that the UK Government continues the leadership and commitment it has shown to this point. It must continue its resolve for the strongest, legally-binding treaty possible and one which protects the human rights and lives of so many."
Shabnum Mustapha, Director of Amnesty Scotland, said:
"Amnesty International has been campaigning for an international arms trade treaty for a long time. I welcomed the opportunity to discuss the Control Arms campaign with the First Minister and warmly welcome his support on this very important issue.
"It is absolutely bizarre that we have international treaties for items such as bananas, dinosaur bones and postage stamps; but when it comes to weapons and the horrific impact that an unregulated arms trade has on so many around the world, there is nothing.
"I hope that a united voice from our political leaders will give the UK Government the impetus and courage to push for a strong treaty to reduce conflict, reduce poverty and reduce human rights abuses. We hope that after the UN negotiations we will have a treaty that everyone in Scotland can be proud of."