Novel way to deter people from arms trade

Published on Jan 25, 2006 07:27 PM IST

Cinemas will now show a spoof shopping channel ad offering AK-47 machine guns for sale, reports Vijay Dutt.

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None | ByVijay Dutt, London

Amnesty International has hit upon a novel way to highlight the threat from arms trade. Soon cinemagoers are to be shown a shocking spoof shopping channel ad offering AK-47 machine guns for sale. Amnesty said it aims to highlight the ease with which weapons can be bought and sold due to lax controls on the international market. It is part of the charity's campaign to get one million people to sign its petition calling on the United Nations to introduce tougher regulations.

In the spoof ad, presenters praise the gun's firepower and a boy fires it. The commercial is part of a wider campaign by Amnesty, which includes a mock-up mail order weapons catalogue being sent to thousands of homes.

Amnesty's spokesperson Sarah Green told BBC, "The arms trade internationally is completely out of control. And we think a spoof of a shopping channel advertisement kind of makes that point - in that the controls around the sale of grenades, guns and helicopters etc are so lax and so easy to get round that you might as well get on television and order one up off the phone."

She further appealed that it was "within the power of ordinary people to make a difference", and that the group wanted people to sign its petition calling for an international arms trade treaty to regulate the trade.

Referring to Britain, she said people must "make it clear" to the government they were not prepared to let manufacturers supply arms that would "eventually end up in places like Congo, Colombia and south Thailand, where children and men and women are killed ruthlessly".

Amnesty hopes that at least one million people sign the petition before a UN meeting in June, so that then it would be possible to put the issue on the government's agenda.

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