This year's G8 summit will focus on global economics, fighting terrorism and African development. According to Amnesty International, all three topics have a human rights aspect, which is the major concern of the organization.
Amnesty International representatives from all over the world will speak at a day-long workshop on Mon., June 24 at the Group of Six Billion Peoples' Summit. They will address the issue of human security and the trade of arms.
"In our workshop at the G6B, we would like to come up with very concrete proposals to put to the G8, that would further our human rights agenda," said Erica Bullwinkle from Amnesty International. "We don't want broad suggestions, but specific recommendations for the topic of arms trade and specifically the trade of small arms."
According to Bullwinkle, this topic was chosen because arms dealers from around the world sell weapons to governments and armed groups with long records of human rights violations.
"The trade of arms should be more controlled, because more than 80 per cent of the arms traded come from G8 countries," said Bullwinkle. "There have to be stricter controls of where these weapons are going and what they are used for because if there is an obvious human rights violation, then it shouldn't be done."
Another topic for the G6B workshop is resource extraction on the African continent. The rich natural resources could be a source of economic growth, but instead wars are fought to control the diamond trade and the oil reserves.
"In countries like Sierra Leone, we are looking at a controlled system of trade, where the resource extraction contributes to human rights violations," Bullwinkle explained.
Armed factions that gain control of the lucrative resources have used them to buy weapons, which led back to human rights abuse and an ongoing conflict.
Results and suggestions from the workshop will be enclosed in a report and presented to the Foreign Minister of Canada, Bill Graham. He will attend the last day of the G6B summit to hear the g6b participants' suggestions and to bring the reports to the Canadian Government.
"As far as we are concerned, this event is part of our ongoing dialogue with governments to try and push human rights higher up in their agenda," said Bullwinkle. "We are very pleased that Mr. Graham is coming to listen to us and to pass the message on."
Another concern is the protests which may take place in and around Calgary during the G8 conference.
"Our observation about previous meetings like this is that there has been excessive use of force by the police," Bullwinkle said. "We understand that it is a difficult situation, but they have to recognise the right of peaceful assembly."
An observer from Amnesty International will monitor the demonstrations and report rights violations. According to Amnesty International, even if the peaceful assembly becomes a riot, aggressive protesters who are arrested retain rights which must be respected.
Amnesty International is fighting on two fronts--here in Calgary it will try to ensure the human rights of protesters and at the G6B, it is fighting for less human rights violations in Africa and around the world.
Bullwinkle is positive when talking about the outcome of the G6B and the G8.
"We would like to see the issue of human rights put much more strongly into the document that the G8 will produce during the summit. If that could be achieved, we would gain a lot."