Violence begets violence

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“It is after the attack that the village received guns for its defence. But then the threat to the village was greater. Why? The [rebels] would like to capture the guns.”
Villager from Yakawewa in Sri Lanka, 1989

Every day, millions of people suffer from the direct and indirect consequences of the irresponsible arms trade: thousands are killed, others are injured, many are raped, and/or forced to flee from their homes, while many others have to live under constant threat of weapons.

The poorly regulated global trade in conventional arms and ammunition fuels conflict, poverty and human rights abuses. The problems are compounded by the increasing globalization of the arms trade – components being sourced from across the world, and production and assembly in different countries, sometimes with little controls. Domestic regulation of the arms trade has failed to adapt to these changes.

Since 1997, Project Ploughshares has pushed for governments to address irresponsible arms transfers. In July 2012, delegates at the United Nations failed to reach consensus and agree an Arms Trade Treaty during negotiations.

But the fight to end the illegal and irresponsible arms trade will press on. The lack of agreement on a final text was disappointing but not the end of the story.

To learn more about Ploughshares plans to do next and how you can help, follow this link.

Some facts:

  • 128 armed conflicts since 1989 have resulted in at least 250,000 deaths each year
  • there are an estimated 300,000 armed killings outside of conflict each year
  • Injuries are likely to be even more numerous than deaths in conflict and armed violence
  • About 60 per cent of human rights violations documented by Amnesty International have involved the use of small arms and light weapons
  • All of the top six countries of origin of refugees in 2008 are locations of armed conflict
  • Child soldiers have been actively involved in armed conflict in government forces or non-state armed groups in 19 countries or territories since 2004

Sources: Amnesty International, Oxfam

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