Northern Ireland Assembly debates Arms Trade Treaty motion

Armed man in silhouette

The assembly is debating a motion later calling for the government to press for a human rights-compliant Arms Trade Treaty.

Final negotiations on the treaty are to take place at the UN next month.

The assembly motion urges the government to insist that arms sales not be authorised where there is a substantial risk they will lead to serious human rights violations.

It is being backed by Amnesty International and WAVE Trauma Centre .

Grainne Teggart of Amnesty International said: "Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband, and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague have all spoken publicly of their commitment to securing a robust and effective Arms Trade Treaty.

"However, so far the Prime Minister David Cameron has stayed silent on the issue.

"As one of the most influential players in the negotiations, it is crucial that David Cameron publicly commits to championing an effective Arms Trade Treaty and sends a clear message to other world leaders that the UK will not compromise on human rights.''

Alex Bunting, from WAVE, who lost a leg and sustained injuries to his other leg in a booby trap bomb attack on his taxi in Belfast in 1991, said: "Having had our own experience of the illegal flow of arms in Northern Ireland, it is important that our MLAs urge David Cameron to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and ensure that the Arms Trade Treaty protects the human rights of people both at home and abroad.''

Mr Bunting's injuries were caused by a bomb comprising explosives illegally imported to Northern Ireland, suspected to have come from Libya in the 1980s.

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