Meeting with Amnesty International
As the people smuggling debate continued in Parliament yesterday I met with some Australians working with Amnesty International at the forefront of non-government advocacy on human rights.
Amnesty is a household name and its work over past years has been invaluable in influencing the international community’s response to human rights abuses.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of discussing with Claire Mallinson, Amnesty’s National Director in Australia, what more Australia can do to stem the flow of illegal and unregulated arms.
Next week I will be at a conference in New York to negotiate the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) together with a number of Foreign Ministers and representatives from countries around the world.
According to its organisers, this treaty “is seen as the most important initiative ever regarding conventional arms regulation within the United Nations”.
Significantly, its terms will be legally binding on the international community.
Australia, I am proud to say, has played a prominent role in international efforts to ensure this Treaty is robust and effective.
We believe the treaty should cover a broad range of weapons, including small arms and light weapons and ammunition. It should regulate the key stages of an international arms trade and set high standards for assessing whether or not arms transfers should be authorised.
I will write more on this initiative soon, but in the meantime I’d like to thank Amnesty International and its supporters more broadly for their unending commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.