YOUNG campaigners with a conscience have been challenging the Government for a tough new arms trade treaty.
Students from Sunderland College joined 150 other youth delegates from across the UK at an event organised by Amnesty International and Oxfam.
Dozens of young Amnesty International and Oxfam activists – some as young as 12 – urged minister Alistair Burt and other senior government officials to ensure that the UK works to deliver a treaty which, for the first time, would globally regulate the trade of weapons across borders.
Currently there are no global regulations controlling the arms trade.
Students from Sunderland College’s Human Rights Group met Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Mr Burt, who said that the Government was committed to a robust arms trade treaty.
Jason Redman, 17, is a member of the college’s Human Rights Group at St Peter’s Campus and is studying A-levels in government and politics, business studies and law.
He said: “At the Amnesty conference, I found all the speakers to be inspiring and informative on the topic of the arms trade treaty – in particular, David Grimason, an arms control campaigner, whose two-year-old son was shot dead on a family holiday in Turkey, and Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier from Sudan turned musician and peace activist.
“Due to circumstances such as those endured by both David and Emmanuel, it proves the need for a robust and effective arms trade treaty, as these are not isolated events.
“This can help prevent and reduce incidents like this from happening around the world.”
Lyndsay Rickerby, 17, is studying A-levels in sociology, IT, geography and maths at St Peter’s.
She said: “I found it fascinating, not only from hearing the accounts from the professional speakers, but also finding out what other young people are doing around the country to draw attention to the campaign. For example, flash mobs were used at Leeds University.
“I also learned a lot more about the arms trade treaty as well as hearing different opinions on what should be done to help.”