United Nations adopted Arms Trade Treaty

Amnesty International
2 April 2013

UN puts human rights at heart of historic Arms Trade Treaty

Today, governments at the United Nations adopted by a wide margin an Arms Trade Treaty that will prohibit states from transferring conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons will be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

In the UN General Assembly 154 states voted to adopt the treaty just days after Iran, North Korea and Syria – three human rights-abusing countries under some form of UN sanctions – staged a cynical move to try and block it. All three voted against the treaty today and 23 other states abstained.

“The world has been waiting a long time for this historic treaty. After long years of campaigning, most states have agreed to adopt a global treaty that can prevent the flow of arms into countries where they will be used to commit atrocities,” said Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, from the UN conference in New York.

“Despite Iran, North Korea and Syria’s deeply cynical attempt to stymie it, the overwhelming majority of the world’s nations have shown resounding support for this lifesaving treaty with human rights protection at its core.”

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North Korea’s crumbling health system in dire need of aid

Amnesty International
15 July 2010

North Korea’s crumbling health system in dire need of aid

Amputation and other major surgeries carried out without anaesthesia are just one indication of the dire state of North Korea’s healthcare system, a new Amnesty International report has found.

The Crumbling state of health care in North Korea draws on interviews with North Koreans and health workers to paint a picture of barely-functioning hospitals void of medicines and epidemics brought on by malnutrition.

Witnesses described hospitals where hypodermic needles were not sterilized and sheets were not regularly washed.

“North Korea has failed to provide for the most basic health and survival needs of its people. This is especially true of those who are too poor to pay for medical care,” said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Asia-Pacific.

According to the World Health Organization’s last available figures, North Korea spent less on healthcare than any other country in the world – under US$1 per person per year in total.

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