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Never before in the history of mankind have there been so many weapons in circulation. Automatic rifles, revolvers, machine guns, grenade launchers and so on. In all, nearly 500 million small arms and light weapons (SALW) are scattered in all four corners of the planet. There are some 100 million in Africa alone. The consequences are well-known. Some 90% of the victims of war, women and children for the most part, were killed by small arms fire. The over-supply of small arms has always had a negative impact on development, encouraging ever more violent crime and often connected with drug trafficking.

Stemming the flow of SALW and destroying illicit stocks are genuine challenges for the international community. Several initiatives are currently under way to tackle the proliferation of small arms, run by the United Nations, the European Union and several regions of Africa. GRIP is closely connected with most of these initiatives. Whether in New York, Brussels or in the heart of Africa, GRIP’s SALW expertise is widely recognised and highly regarded.


UN Photo/Martine Perret

ONUB: Demobilization of Burundian Military
Weapons being burnt during the official launch of the Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) process in Muramvya, Burundi. Burundian military signed up voluntarily to be disarmed under the auspices of United Nations peacekeepers and observers.
Location: Muramvya, Burundi
Date: 02 December 2004
UN Photo/Martine Perret

Peacekeepers Assist with Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration in DRC
A United Nations peacekeeper from the Indian battalion of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) examines AK-47 magazines stored in a warehouse in Beni, where all weapons and ammunition are stored after they have been collected in the demobilization process in Matembo, North Kivu.
Location: Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Date: 09 November 2006

Is there really a EU Strategy against small arms proliferation?(Cédric Poitevin)

The adoption of a strategy against the proliferation of SALW (small arms and light weapons) has allowed the EU to better structure its many initiatives to assist areas affected by the proliferation of SALW and the promotion of multilateralism in fight against this scourge. Still its Member States are struggling to harmonise their practices in the SALW trade and thus to act preventively against diversion and proliferation. This lack of coordination could be filled through practical initiatives such as the introduction of a "New for Old" clause and a better exchange of information between the 27 on diversion. Failing to do so, the EU policy in this area will be forever limited to repair the damage caused by SALW (including those coming from the EU) in post-conflict countries.

Weapon transfers to peacekeeping missions : nothing to report? (Timothy Ghilain)

Peacekeeping operations multiply and evolve, and weapon transfers towards these missions rarely raise questions. This article develops the conditions necessary for such transfers and their implications. Even though they always appear as transfers to peacekeeping operations, they are above all transfers to the troop contributing countries, which assign them to their regiments deployed in an international operation. Within these missions, with losses, corruption and traffic, the opportunities for diverting the weapon are numerous. We should also not overlook the risks that appear after the end of the mission, when the soldiers go home, armed but sometimes aimless.
Ammunition controls, the ATT, and Africa: Challenges, requirements, and scope for action (Holger Anders)

There is no consensus on whether ammunition should be included in the scope of the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Most states support its inclusion and point towards the negative impact of irresponsible and poorly controlled transfers of ammunition. The insecurity and tremendous human suffering associated with such transfers in the context of armed violence in Africa are a case in point.

A few states, however, oppose the inclusion of ammunition in the ATT and argue that controlling international ammunition transfers would be unfeasible and highly cost-intensive. This report discusses the challenges of ammunition controls in Africa against the background of the international discussions on the ATT. It demonstrates that concerns regarding ammunition-inclusion in the ATT are unfounded. It also argues that complementary action will be required by African stakeholders and their international partners to strengthen ammunition controls in the region.
The arms trade treaty – Challenges for 2012 (Virginie Moreau)

Illegal trafficking and irresponsible arms transfers are a threat to peace and security. Their consequences are often measured in terms of human losses and development in many parts of the world. Yet so far there is still no international instrument to regulate the international transfers of conventional weapons.

Through combined efforts of civil society and some governments, the need to address this lack of global common standards has gradually become selfevident for States. In December 2006 the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution to initiate a process in order to lead to the development of an international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Five years later, the process is close to be fulfilled. An international UN Conference will be held in July 2012 to negotiate and, in principle, adopt a Treaty.

This report provides an overview of this historical process and examines in particular the work of the Preparatory Committee of the international Conference, which met three times between July 2011 and July 2012. This report attempts to identify key issues for the final round of negotiations on an ATT in July 2012.

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Update: 16/02/2012

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