29 May 2006

UN Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas Features in Public Service Announcement to Draw Attention to Illicit Trade in Small Arms, Light Weapons

NEW YORK, 26 May (UN Headquarters) -- Actor Michael Douglas, a United Nations Messenger of Peace, features in a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) to focus attention on the issue of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  The PSA also promotes the upcoming United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit trade in Small arms and Light Weapons in all its aspects.  The Conference takes place at United Nations Headquarters from 26 June to 7 July.

The PSA is an integral part of a United Nations public information campaign, and calls attention to the dangers posed by the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, including their humanitarian and social impact on children and the civilian population in general.

"The Conference is an opportunity for UN Member States to build on the Programme of Action and to encourage countries to strengthen their laws on the illicit trade," says Mr. Douglas.  The Conference will review the implementation of the Programme of Action, unanimously adopted by Member States in 2001, to combat illegal small arms and ensure that they are kept out of the wrong hands.

The PSA is produced by the Department of Public Information in cooperation with the Department of Disarmament Affairs, and with the creative direction of Malcolm MacDougall of Kitchen Sink Productions and editor Egon Kirincici.  It is a 30-second television spot, which will be subtitled in 18 languages and widely distributed to international and national TV channels, as well as be made available on the Internet, at www.un.org/smallarms2006, in the coming days.  The spot emphasizes that the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons is "an issue that affects us all".  It also reinforces the point that, "while owning guns is a legal right in most countries, the illegal trade in guns continues to fuel conflict, crime and violence".

Award-winning actor and producer Michael Douglas was appointed a Messenger of Peace by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 1998.  As a Messenger of Peace, he has focused his advocacy on disarmament, including nuclear non-proliferation and stemming the spread of small arms, as well as on human rights.  Mr. Douglas' appearance in the PSA reflects his strong commitment to disarmament and his willingness to further this message through the power of television and the Internet.

Messengers of Peace are distinguished men and women of talent and passion, who have expressed their desire to help focus global attention on the noble aims of the United Nations Charter: a world without war, respect for human rights, international law and social and economic progress.  There are eight other Messengers of Peace: Muhammad Ali, Luciano Pavarotti, Elie Wiesel, Wynton Marsalis, Jane Goodall, Vijay Amritraj, Anna Cataldi and Enrico Macias.

For more information on the PSA and on the Messengers of Peace, please contact Yvonne Acosta: tel:  1 212 963 7214; e-mail: acostay@un.org .

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