Amnesty International English-speaking group Berlin (1312)

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English-speaking group Berlin (1312)


Control Arms Campaign

''How loud do you expect us to yell and cry out? How much pain and suffering do you think we're able to bear? How many heads and arms will be cut off by rockets before someone gives us a listening ear?" Emily Baker, whose husband was killed in fighting in Liberia, 2003

There are around 639 million small arms and light weapons in the world today. Eight million more are produced every year. It is estimated that there is one gun for every 10 people on the planet - men, women, and children.

Without strict control, such weapons will continue to fuel violent conflict, state repression, crime, and domestic abuse. Unless governments act to stop the spread of arms, more lives will be lost, more human rights violations will take place, and more people will be denied the chance to escape poverty.

Amnesty International has joined forces with Oxfam and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) to campaign for tougher arms controls.

Photos and self-portraits of people all around the world are being collected as part of the 'Million Faces' petition. The aim is to collect one million faces by 2006 as a powerful visual message of support for the Control Arms campaign. The petition will be used to persuade the world's governments to sign up to a global Arms Trade Treaty.

We have been working to promote the Control Arms Campaign with various actions.

In July 2005, we were invited to the Kulturfabrik Moabit's summer party. The party-goers were very receptive to the campaign and its aims, and we collected well over 100 pictures for the million faces gallery. On October 10, 2005, we went back to Locktow to participate in this year's kite-flying festival.We were not only invited but also actively supported by organizer Rainer Timm, who was wearing an Amnesty T-shirt and used his potent loudspeakers to draw visitors' attention to our stand.

Many people were interested and over 50 donated their pictures to the million faces gallery. Others completed postcards to send to their member of parliament. Not everyone agreed with our aims, but we felt that it was good and important to raise awareness of amnesty's work in this rural area of Brandenburg.

We look forward to going back next year!

Many famous faces have also lent their support to the campaign -- including Axel Prahl of Tatort Münster, who photographed passers-by on Hackescher Markt, aided and abetted by several members of our group.