Arms Trade Treaty People’s Consultation Bulletin
50 People’s Consultations are currently planned to take place around the world over the coming months. These will support the global effort to ensure that governments make strong and useful recommendations on the Arms Trade Treaty to the UN Secretary-General. The People’s Consultations will present the views of people who are affected by armed violence and others who are concerned about bringing the arms trade under control and ask their governments to take these into account.
1. Activities Update
Sou da Paz organised consultations with women in São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul on 6 and 8 of March, which both sought individuals’ views on the arms trade and provided the participants with information on national arms transfer controls and the idea behind the Arms Trade Treaty. Those invited included a group of women who work with victims of gun violence and domestic violence, female disarmament leaders, female professors, and sociologists. Discussions were held on what women want from an international treaty that would reduce armed violence in Brazil. Consultations will take place all around Brazil throughout the beginning of April and will include youth, police, and businessmen. The consultations will culminate in a national consultation with a group of experts and an outcome document will be produced, including the results of surveys conducted during the consultations.
The Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI) held a National People’s Consultation in New Delhi on 20 March which was officially opened by Shri MK Rasgotra (Chairman, Prime Ministers National Security Advisory Board), and attended by a host of diplomats, retired civil servants, senior scholars, members of civil society and community members. Issues presented and discussed included the present status of licit and illicit arms proliferation and the arms trade in India, armed conflict in India and the continuing illicit arms proliferation and trade, and India and the United Nations resolution on the Arms Trade Treaty. The consultation also discussed how to work at the grassroots for achieving an Arms Trade Treaty, and importantly, recommendations and steps forward for a ‘People’s Resolution’ on an Arms Trade Treaty. CAFI has also organised meetings with civil society groups, such as the Mnaipuri Women Gun Survivors Network.
The Control Arms coordinating committee in Kenya has organised a series of People’s Consultations in regions across Kenya including Garissa, Ijara, Mandera, Eldoret, the Coast, and Nairobi (including the informal settlements). In the North Eastern Province, the consultations were launched on 6 February and have continued throughout February and March. The consultations will culminate in a National event to be held on the 4th April 2007, after which they will be submitted to the government. Additionally, the Kenya National Focal Point held a public destruction of 7,800 firearms.
The South African Action Network on Small Arms (SAANSA) held a consultation and workshop with members of the police force and the community Police Forum from the eastern part of Johannesburg on 15 March, and discussed the need for an Arms Trade Treaty with them. The participants welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the discussion and they hoped that the government will take account of their views. On 21 March (South African Human Rights Day) a march took place in Johannesburg and a number of people signed the charter. On 23 March SAANSA addressed over 40 politics students at the University of Johannesburg, who were also asked to sign the charter which will be handed to the government. On Sunday 25 March the Catholic Church will mobilise Christians in and around Johannesburg attending Sunday worship to sign the charter. The Control Arms organisations cooperating to conduct the People’s Consultation in South Africa are the Ceasefire Campaign, Institute for Security Studies, South African Council of Churches, Gun Free South Africa and the Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA).
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Zambia launched the People’s Consultations by organising a radio phone in programme with members of the public in late February, the subject of which was to discuss an Arms Treaty. A transcript of the radio programme will be handed over to the government in March. IPPNW will continue to hold People’s Consultations and will target public health professionals, private security firms, women’s groups, church groups and many others.
2. Objectives of the People’s Consultation and suggested activities
The main objective of the People’s Consultation is to encourage your government to make a submission to the UN on the Arms Trade Treaty and to influence the submissions to include our main policy demands. In particular we are asking governments to:
· Support a comprehensive ATT that covers all conventional arms, including tanks, fighter jets and guns.
· Support the principle that an international arms transfer should not be authorised if it is likely to lead to serious human rights violations or serious violations of international humanitarian law.
· Support the principle that an arms transfer should not be authorised if it will undermine sustainable development.
· Support the principle that an arms transfer should not be authorised if it will undermine regional security.
To have an opportunity of influencing the government’s submission, the consultations should take place before 30 April 2007 which is the UN’s deadline for receiving government submissions. It is therefore important to contact your government as soon as possible to find out when it’s planning to make its submission. If you can get a copy of the submission please send it and any other similarly useful information from your meetings with governments to firstname.lastname@example.org
The UN requested governments to send submissions was sent to missions in New York and many governments have not seen the letter. You can download it here to show your government:
http://www.iansa.org/campaigns_events/PeoplesConsultation/index.htm (login: consultation, password: bangkok)
The People’s Consultation is a process to engage people and to incorporate their views in the official process. As such, they take the form of discussions, workshops, seminars and events engaging citizens, civil society groups as well as government representatives. The outcome of the consultation could be in the form of a charter, statement, manifesto, report or letter, or even a video or audiotape highlighting people’s views, which can be presented to your government showing the demands of the people.
Community Consultations will engage members of local society or particular sectors of society, e.g. survivors of armed violence, youth groups, women’s groups, and the police. Some suggested ways to conduct community consultations include: using the Control Arms action cards to Foreign Ministers; conducting opinion polls, public surveys; holding online discussions, community meetings; organising letter-writing activities, radio phone-ins, vox pops.
National Consultations can take the form of workshops, meetings, seminars or roundtables with civil society and government representatives. Each national consultation should produce a set of demands which can be submitted to the government in an effort to influence its submission to the UN.
Other Campaign Activities could include rallies and marches and media opportunities to raise awareness of the the uncontrolled arms trade and for the need for an Arms Trade Treaty.
The Control Arms campaign has developed a range of materials for your use in the People’s Consultation. If you would like a pack of materials containing leaflets and action cards, ATT position papers, stickers, posters and pens, please send your name and address to Bakhta Ouali Bakhta.email@example.com Tell us what language you want to receive materials in – English, French, Spanish or Arabic.
There are a number of other useful materials that are available for downloading from the IANSA website and which can also be provided on request by contacting Laura Cheeseman firstname.lastname@example.org these include:
Campaign and advocacy materials
All of these can be downloaded from the IANSA website: http://www.iansa.org/campaigns_events/PeoplesConsultation/index.htm (login: consultation, password: bangkok)
Designed materials can also be downloaded if you want to print these locally. These include leaflets with tear-off action cards to Foreign Ministers, stickers and posters as well as the People’s Consultation logo.
4. Announcement of new dates
We have changed the dates of the Global Day for an Arms Trade Treaty and the Global Week of Action on Small Arms in light of other planned events, the new dates are as follows:
Please let us know what your plans are and hope that any plans made for the previous dates are able to be changed. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Good luck with your consultations, please send us updates, photos and media coverage of your events to put on the website and in the bulletins.
Program Officer - Control Arms campaign
International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)