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Ex-UN rights chief urges US action on small arms treaty after Virginia Tech rampage

[JURIST] Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson [official profile] expressed hope Monday that the April 16 shootings [Wikipedia backgrounder] at Virginia Tech [university website] that left 33 people - including the gunman - dead in the largest shooting rampage in US history would prompt the United States to take action in support of an international arms trade treaty [advocacy website]. In December the US was the only country to vote against a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution [vote and explanations; draft text] urging the UN Secretary General to solicit the views of member states on a treaty "establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms." Twenty-four other countries abstained and 153 countries voted in favor.

Robinson said at a UN press conference [recorded video] in New York Monday marking a Global Day of Action for the Arms Trade Treaty [advocacy website] that 1000 people are killed around the world every day by unregulated small arms, and that "maybe the sense of personal loss for the 32 lives, and what we know about them" could help bring that fact home to people in the United States as a "a tragic reminder that armed violence is a problem in so many parts of the world." AP has more.

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