Indian Civil Society urge for an International Arms Trade Treaty to Tackle Rising Gun Violence in India

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PRESS RELEASE – Indian Civil Society urge for an International Arms Trade Treaty to Tackle Rising Gun Violence in India

15 June 2011, New Delhi: Each year activists around the world use the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence to raise awareness, campaign for better gun laws and push for stronger regulation of the global arms trade. This year the Week of Action is will be observed from 13-19 June 2011. Control Arms Foundation of India is calling upon the Government of India to support the Arms Trade Treaty in Delhi.

Around the world, 500,000 people are killed each year, directly with conventional weapons and many more are injured, abused, forcibly displaced and bereaved as a result of armed violence. Around 58,000 Indians died due to armed violence in the last 15 years. The highest casualties have been reported from India’s Northeast states and Jammu & Kashmir. If the death, injury and disability resulting from small arms were categorised as a disease, we would view it as an epidemic.
Yet the global trade that fuels the epidemic of armed violence is not subject to international regulation. The arms industry is unlike any other. It operates without regulation. There is more regulation in music and film industry than in arms.

Control Arms Foundation of India and many of its partner organizations across India are joining activists from 85 countries around the world in commemorating the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence. In Manipur, the Manipur Gun Women Survivor Network will organize an outreach programme to women gun survivors as well as induct new women gun survivors in the network. In Nagaland, Ms Elizabeth Imti, Lecturer, Fazl Ali College, Mokokchung commemorated the Global Week of Action to her students in her class and also involved them to engage in a discussion about gun violence. In Peermade, Kerala, Mr M Madasamy organized a community meeting on 13 June 2011 and in Kupwara, Kashmir, Mr Mohammed Gulzar Mir will also be organizing a rally. The Week of Action will highlight the international campaign to stop the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. Each of these efforts are to draw attention to the human toll of arms proliferation and misuse and calling upon Government of India to strengthen the ongoing work at the United Nations for an international arms trade treaty.
According to Binalakshmi Nepram, Secretary General of Control Arms Foundation of India, “90 per cent of conventional arms exports in world are from permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council namely USA, UK, Russia, China & France. They manufacture around 8 million new small arms are manufactured every year and it is these weapons that flood India. At present, it is impossible to monitor or interrupt this deadly flow of weapons. This is because there are no agreed global standards for governments when authorising exports or transfers. Hence we are observing the Global Week of Action to Call upon Government of India to support to make the Arms Trade Treaty happen by 2012”.

The idea of a global Arms Trade Treaty was inspired by Nobel Peace Laureates and developed by lawyers, human rights organisations, and humanitarian NGOs. In late 2006, the United Nations General Assembly embarked on a process to help ending this violence caused by illegal arms. Several member states started to draft an International Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a legally binding instrument to regulate international transfers of conventional weapons. ATT aims at preventing the transfers of weapons into the wrong hands. It now enjoys the support of a growing number of governments (153 States), as well as more than 800 civil society organisations worldwide.

In India, the work to make the Arms Trade Treaty is spear-headed by Control Arms Foundation of India and its partner organisations and till date more 50, 000 citizens have given their support to the Treaty by signing on to a petition submitted to the United Nations. Several prominent Indians such as Professor Amartya Sen, Admiral Ramdas, Rabbi Shergill, Nandita Das and several others have supported the initiative.

Control Arms Foundation of India is hoping that at the UN Third Preparatory Committee meeting where a significant number of governments from all world regions will make statements calling for comprehensive scope and high ethical principles and robust rules for making arms transfer decisions, India will consider its current position on the ATT and cooperate with world leading bodies for the Arms Trade Treaty to happen.

For more information, please contact :
Ms Binalakshmi Nepram
Control Arms Foundation of India
B 5 / 146, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi – 110 029
Phone: +91-11-46018541 Fax: +91-11-26166234
Mobile: +91-9868233373 Email : Binalakshmi AT gmail.com

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