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Those who heard Hollywood actor and Oxfam Ambassador Djimon Hounsou at the Japan Society last week were moved by the passion with which he spoke about the Arms Trade Treaty, now in its final week of negotiations at the UN in New York. Just back from a week-long field visit to South Sudan—a place struggling to recover from decades of conflict—Hounsou made an eloquent case for why we need the treaty.
“If you could see the strength and dignity of the people of South Sudan, it would astonish you,” he said. “After all they have endured, they press on for a future that they fought and bled for, a future that they believe in, a future that we can support.”
And it’s not just South Sudan that needs our support in this endeavor, it is every country that has suffered from the consequences of armed conflict fed by the uncontrolled global flow of guns and ammunition. The security and rights of millions of people are threatened daily because of the poorly regulated international weapons trade.
That can change. Countless lives can be improved if nations would agree to one simple principle–that there should be no arms transfers when there is the substantial risk that the weapons will be used for war crimes, for serious violations of international human rights law, or for undermining development.
Negotiators have just a few days left to finalize language for the treaty, language that could help make the world a truly safer place. Add your voice to the urgency of this need, and call on President Obama to support a strong Arms Trade Treaty.