UN World conference on small arms and Million Faces Petition

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23 Jun 2006
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Arms Trade Treaty
Campaigners for tougher global arms controls from around the world will hold several media and public events in New York during the United Nations world conference on small arms and light weapons that runs from 10am Monday 26 June ? Friday 7 July.
One million people have joined the Million Faces Petition, which is the world’s largest photo petition, calling on leaders to back stricter controls on the arms trade. This will be presented on the opening day of the conference to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. A survivor of armed violence from Kenya, Julius Arile was the millionth person to sign the petition and he has flown to New York to urge world leaders to control the global arms trade.

Anthea Lawson IANSA +1 347 220 2916
Caroline Green, Oxfam International +1 202 321 7858
James Dyson, Amnesty International +1 646 8122703

Monday 26 June
What: LAUNCH of AK-47 briefing paper ?. The AK47 is the world’s least
regulated weapon & will remain the most widely used weapon in conflict for the next 20 years. General Kalashnikov is issuing a statement to the Control Arms campaign in favour of tougher international arms controls.
When: embargoed until 0.01 Eastern standard time Monday 26 June media use.
Contact: Clare Rudebeck on +1 646 512 4674 or +44 7769887139

What: PHOTO OPPORTUNITY A Gigantic AK47, built out of prosthetic limbs to represent the human cost of the global arms trade, will stand in front of giant photos from the Million Faces campaign. It represents the million people who have been killed by arms since the last UN conference on small arms in 2001 and has been signed by people from more than 160 countries.
When & Where: 8:30 am Dag Hammarskjold plaza: 47th Street & 1st Avenue opposite the UN
Who: Secretary General of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, Executive Director of Oxam International, Jeremy Hobbs and Rebecca Peters, Director of IANSA will speak, as will armed violence survivor and millionth face Julius Arile from Kenya, and music stars Zola and Angelique Kidjo
Contact: Clare Rudebeck on +1 646 512 4674 or +44 7769887139

What: PRESS CONFERENCE with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Armed violence survivor Julius Arile was the millionth person to sign the petition and will present Kofi Annan with the Million Faces Petition. The heads of Oxfam, Amnesty and IANSA will also be present.
When and where: 9:35 am - The Indonesian Lounge, level four, inside the UN building.
Contact: IANSA: Anthea Lawson +1 347 220 2916 Oxfam: Caroline Green on 202 321 7858 or Amnesty: James Dyson on +1 646 8122703

Wednesday 28 June
What: CONTROL ARMS LIVE CONCERT featuring four-time Grammy nominee Angelique Kidjo, Zola, testimonies by survivors of armed violence and the screening of several short films. Almaparlantes is a Colombian band who play guitars made from converted AK47s. The band speaks Spanish.
When and Where: 7:30pm press conference then 8pm concert The Supper Club, 240 W 47th Street, Times Square
Contact for press conference and event - Caroline Green on 202 321 7858

FOR INTERVIEW: Spokespeople available in English, French, Spanish
1. Julius Arile, Kenyan survivor of armed violence -
2. Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director Oxfam International
3. Irene Khan, Secretary General Amnesty International
4. Rebecca Peters, Director of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)
5. Angelique Kidjo was born in Benin and has been involved in the campaign to control the arms trade for many years. A greatly respected singer and songwriter, she has been nominated four times for a Grammy award. She speaks French and English.
6. World music star Zola grew up in Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is a huge star in his home country. Last year, he starred in and did the soundtrack for the film Tsotsi, which won the Oscar for best foreign film. He speaks English, Zulu, Xhosa and Sethotho.
7. IANSA members from around the world, including survivors of gun violence and campaigners, will be attending the meeting and will be available for interview about the effects of gun violence on their countries.

BIOGRAPHY: Julius Arile (23) Julius was the millionth person to sign the million faces petition for tough arms controls. After presenting the petition to Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi, he has travelled to New York to present UN Secretary General Kofi Annan with the petition.
His background: Julius was born in Chemengwa village, West Pokot District, Kenya, an area known for its armed conflicts between the Pokot and Karamoja and Sebei tribes of Uganda. Fighting constantly interrupted his basic education and, after finally finishing primary school aged 15, he became a cattle raider and fighter to restock his fathers' herd. Over time, he has lost countless friends and relatives in these attacks. In one dawn attack on his village, hundreds of villagers were killed, including Julius’s brother. In 2004, Julius’s life changed during the Annual Peace Race held in West Pokot when he decided to give up fighting and to trade his AK47 for a running kit. He won the 10 kilometre race in the warriors' category that year and has never looked back. Now he is based at a small training camp in Kapenguria where he is training with other athletes and he competes in national athletics competitions. He has also encouraged his friends and family to give up arms and take up athletics to generate income instead.

Note to editors:
The UN review conference is first major UN small arms meeting since the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons was signed by states in 2001. It presents a major opportunity for progress that will save lives, specifically for states to sign onto global principles to control arms transfers. There are currently no comprehensive global standards for governments’ regulations of arms exports. 1000 people are killed every day by small arms.

The Control Arms Campaign -- a joint initiative by Amnesty International, Oxfam International and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) -- is calling for tough global controls on the arms trade that currently fuels human rights violations, escalates conflicts and increases poverty. The campaign is calling on governments to introduce global principles at this world conference and, later this year, to begin negotiations on a binding arms trade treaty to regulate the transfers of weapons and ensure they do not end up in the hands of human rights abusers.

AI Index: POL 30/022/2006 (Public)
News Service No: 158
21 June 2006