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– Hans Blix,
former IAEA Director-General

Arms Trafficking Expert Kathi Lynn Austin Voted 2011 "Arms Control Person of the Year"
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For immediate release: January 5, 2012

Press contact: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x 107

(Washington, D.C.) Kathi Lynn Austin garnered the highest number of votes in an online poll to determine the "2011 Arms Control Persons of the Year." Nine other individuals and institutions were nominated by the staff of the Arms Control Association for their achievements and contributions.

Austin is the Executive Director of Conflict Awareness Project, an arms trafficking investigator, and expert on weapons proliferation to conflict zones. Austin was nominated for her work to document and track arms smugglers, including the notorious Viktor Bout, who was convicted in a New York court earlier this year, and for highlighting the need for a robust global Arms Trade Treaty.

“It is an honor to be voted the '2011 Arms Control Person of the Year.' I hope this award will help galvanize the action needed to achieve a powerful Arms Trade Treaty in 2012 that will save innocent lives," said Ms. Austin. “This is the best opportunity we have to once and for all establish an international regulatory regime for arms dealers and ensure greater law enforcement for violators of international law."

"We live in a world where the international arms trade is less regulated than coffee. This prize recognizes the growing success of a world-wide effort to stop illicit arms traffickers fueling conflicts around the globe."

“For millions of people in conflict-ridden developing regions, the free flow of and trade in conventional weapons produce misery and carnage on a day-to-day basis,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "Kathi Austin’s important work highlights the need for common sense, global standards on conventional arms transfers,” Kimball added.

The runners up for the 2011 distinction were Lantheus Medical Imaging, NTP Radioisotopes Ltd., and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization for their groundbreaking work to produce medical isotopes using LEU instead of HEU, which can help pave the way to phase out the use of weapons-usable HEU in the civilian sector.

Second runner-up was Ambassador Jennifer Macmillan of New Zealand, the chair of the Nuclear Suppliers Group during the negotiations leading up to the June NSG meeting at which the 46-nation group finally "agreed to strengthen its guidelines on the transfer of sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies," which can be used to make fissile material for nuclear weapons.

The online poll was open between Dec. 19, 2011 to Jan. 3, 2012, garnering nearly 500 votes from individuals around the globe. The list of all 2011 nominees is available online.

Past winners of the “Arms Control Person of the Year” are: Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and National Nuclear Security Administrator Tom D'Agostino (2010), Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009), Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry’s Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008), and U.S. Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. ACA publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

Posted: January 4, 2012