Protesters to gather outside AUSMIN meeting

Last updated 16:15 14/11/2012

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Protesters are set to gather outside the Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) meeting to press the US to ensure human rights are protected in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

Turning out for this will be Amnesty International Oxfam, Act for Peace, ActionAid and Medical Association for Prevention of War.

"They will lie on a carpet of red fabric with a backdrop of tombstones, to demonstrate the lives lost every year to the arms trade," organisers said in a statement.

"Participants will aim to send a powerful message to President Obama: step up and show that the US administration is serious when it comes to protecting human rights."

The US was among 157 countries at the United Nations General Assembly's First Committee last week that voted in favour of finalising the ATT next March.

But there's concern that the US has previously tried to weaken the human rights rules and the scope of the treaty, in particular by excluding ammunition.

Richard Tanter, a spokesman for Independent and Peaceful Australian Network (IPAN), which opposes the US military presence in Australia, said his group was concerned that a regional arms race was beginning.

"With no threat from any foreign power, it is not clear why an apparent urgent buildup of US military might is taking place on Australian soil," Professor Tanter said in a statement.

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- AAP

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