Dr. Widad addressed the UN Fourth Biennial Meeting of States to consider 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, which was held in New York in June 2010. DI speech roused a lot of attention among member states and civil society organisations. DI represents the voices and experiences of civil society in the MENA region.
Defend International participated in the General Assembly Interactive Hearings with NGOs which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 14-15 June 2010. DI co-founder Dr. Widad attended the meetings as an accredited observer.
On 12 November 2009, Iraq signed the Cluster Munitions Convention and became the 103rd country to sign the Convention. Defend International, along with other stakeholders, had urged Iraq several times to sign without delay the Convention on Cluster Munitions. “Iraq sent a strong message to the world that cluster bombs are illegitimate weapons of warfare and should not be used anymore,” said DI member from Iraq Mr. Fadhel Abbas.
On November 23, 2008, human rights activist Ms. Negin Shaykh Al-Aslami was released on bail after being arrested for unknown reasons in Tehran. DI extends its sincere thanks to DI member organisations, DI Defenders, subscribers, supporters and friends for sending letters or otherwise supporting the campaign.
“The irresponsible transfer of conventional arms around the planet has destroyed millions of lives and livelihoods, and seriously violated the fundamental human rights of many more… Even today in some countries, such as parts of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, when you drop your children off at school on your way to work in the morning, you cannot feel sure that all of you will still be alive at dinnertime,” said Dr. Widad addressing the UN First Committee on Disarmament and International Security.