Around 58,000 Indians died due to armed violence and over 46,000 illicit small arms and light weapons of all types were trafficked into India in last two decades.
– Indian Parliamentarians Briefing on United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Process
Friday, 20 August 2010 at Constitution Club, New Delhi –
New Delhi, 20 August 2010: Each year, at least a third of a million people are killed directly with conventional weapons and many more are injured, abused, forcibly displaced and bereaved as a result of armed violence. Yet the global trade that fuels the epidemic of armed violence is not subject to international regulation. If the death, injury and disability resulting from small arms were categorised as a disease, we would view it as an epidemic. The arms industry is unlike any other. It operates without regulation. There is more regulation in music and film industry than in arms.
The movement of arms across the world is a huge threat to human security. 1,135 companies in 98 countries manufactures arms, ammunitions and components worldwide. According to Binalakshmi Nepram, Secretary General of Control Arms Foundation of India, “Around 8 million new small arms are manufactured every year, but far more significant is the movement of second-hand guns from one user to another. They last – and remain lethal – for decades. 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”.
In a report submitted by Government of India to the United Nations, it was written that India continues to face the challenge of proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons which are smuggled into the country by various anti-national groups. In Jammu and Kashmir and the north eastern states alone, the security forces have, since 1990, seized approximately 46,000 weapons of all types, whose markings clearly indicated that these were brought into India through illicit channels from outside the country. This continues to pose a significant challenge to the Government. In the last few years, the number of illicit SALW seized or confiscated by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and in the north eastern areas was approximately 3,953
The scale of human suffering caused by poorly controlled and irresponsible arms transfers makes political action by the world’s governments imperative. Arms companies, operating from an increasing number of locations, now source components from across the world. Their products are often assembled in countries with lax controls on where they end up. Too easily, weapons get into the wrong hands. Rapidly widening loopholes in national controls demonstrate how this globalised trade also needs global rules. In India alone, around 58,000 people died due to ongoing armed violence in the last two decades.
On 6 December 2006, work to find a solution on unregulated arms trade started with the international Arms Trade Treaty process that began immediately following a historic vote in the UN General Assembly, which saw 153 governments supporting the proposed Arms Trade Treaty. In October 2009 at the United Nations First Committee, after years of discussions and debates, the United Nations agreed a timetable to establish a ‘strong and robust’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) with the ‘highest common standards’ to control international transfers of conventional arms. 153 countries voted in favour of the resolution, 19 abstained and 1 voted against.
India inspite of being a country which have seen the impact of these arms in the country have continuously abstained from voting at 2006 and also at 2009 United Nations First Committee. According to Dr Anuradha Chenoy of JNU, “The Indian government has repeatedly admitted the easy availability of illegal arms and that they are unable to stop or even arrest people engaged in such illegal sale or production. It is thus logical that the international community adopt a treaty to regulate illicit arms trade. India has a historic opportunity to be involved in such an important process”.
India possesses 40 million firearms many illegal according to United Nations sources. The weaponisation of Indian civil society have greatly impacted the polity, social life and the economy. They are linked to illegal trafficking and unaccountable cash that manages political clout and sustains conflicts. Illegal weapons are infiltrated from the vast borders and sea routes from India’s unstable neighbouring countries that are unable to control militia. An international arms trade treaty is a way out of this spiral.
On Friday, 20 August 2010 Control Arms Foundation of India is organizing a Briefing Session for Indian Parliamentarians on the United Nations Process for an Arms Trade Treaty. The purpose of the meeting is to make the parliamentarians aware of the deadly trade in arms which is a huge threat to human security and yet operates without global binding regulations and to call upon Government of India to support the ongoing process for an international Arms Trade Treaty happen by 2012.
For more information, interviews etc please contact:
Ms Binalakshmi Nepram & Team
Control Arms Foundation of India
B 5/146, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi- 110029
Mobile : 9868233373 Phone: 011- 46018541, Fax: +91-11-26166234
The press release is contributed by :
Mary D Khuvung
Control Arms Foundation of India
B 5 / 146, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi – 110 029, India