Thousands Sign Message: “Have a Heart: Don’t Kill the Global Arms Trade Treaty!”A giant Valentine signed by thousands of supporters of an international treaty to control the flow of weapons to warlords, terrorists and other human rights violators was delivered today to the national office of the National Rifle Association in Fairfax Virginia. The National Rifle Association is leading opposition to the treaty claiming that it will infringe of the rights of Americans to own weapons that is guaranteed by the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Leaders from the Diaspora community of Sudan and Burma whose home communities have been ravaged by mass violence were among those delivering the Valentine. They included Abdalla Babikir from Blue Nile, Sudan and Niemat Ahmadi from North Darfur, Sudan. Ms. Ahmadi is a staff member of United to End Genocide and a founder of the Darfur Women Action Group. Also joining the group was Myra Dahgaypaw who is from Karen State in eastern Burma. She serves as Campaigns Coordinator for the U.S. Campaign for Burma and is a member of the Karen Women’s Organization. “We have seen first-hand the tragic consequences of powerful weapons in the wrong hands such as the world renown dictator, al-Bashir of Sudan and his allies in the Janjaweed militias”, said Ahmadi. “Some of us have lost dear friends and family members. Half a million people across the globe are killed every year because of armed violence perpetrated with firearms including those who are lost in genocides and mass atrocities. We must do everything that we can to stop this madness.” “There are international rules for the sale of bananas and iPhones, but not killing machines like AK-47’s and grenade launchers,” said Tom Andrews, President of United to End Genocide. “The best way to end genocides and mass atrocities is to prevent them from happening. This treaty is a significant step in the right direction. But it is being undermined by the groundless argument of the National Rifle Association that it will infringe on the rights of gun owners in the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth.” “The Arms Trade Treaty will eliminate the gaps and loopholes that arms dealers are now able to exploit to sell weapons to those who shouldn’t have them. The treaty will establish one uniform standard for the flow of weapons worldwide.” “On this Valentine’s Day, United to End Genocide and its supporters are imploring the National Rifle Association to have a heart and end its opposition to the international Arms Trade Treaty. At the very least, it should stop making arguments that are not true and have nothing to do with the treaty. At stake are the lives of millions of innocent people who face the prospect of being killed in a genocide or mass atrocity.” The United Nations will convene in March for final negotiations on the treaty which will establish standards for the transfer of weapons across national borders. We urge the United States government to take a strong and principled leadership role in these negotiations and sign a strong Arms Trade Treaty. United to End Genocide is one of a number of organizations and individuals who support the Arms Trade Treaty including U.S. military leaders, the Vatican, the World Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, Amnesty International, and Oxfam among many others. Photos and interviews are available upon request.