We are going to share today is what national day? The International Day for the Destruction of Small Arms was launched by the United Nations in 2001.
On the occasion of the International Day for the Destruction of Small Arms, victims of gun violence are destroying weapons around the globe . These local actions come after the organizers of the campaign for arms control – Oxfam, Amnesty International and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) – statistics revealing the existence of a weapon for ten inhabitants in the world. On average, 800,000 are destroyed each year, but unregulated weapons remain a major problem: for every weapon destroyed, ten are produced.
Day of Destruction of Small Arms July 09
When they fall into the wrong hands, weapons are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, and many more injured each year. Unregulated weapons are used in crimes around the world: homicides, forced displacement, rape and torture.
“The International Day for the Destruction of Small Arms is an opportunity for everyone to take initiatives to tackle the problem of weapons head-on, since, for every weapon destroyed, ten are produced, the efforts made by The ordinary citizen is undermined by the refusal to act by governments: for every step forward, we reduce by 10. As long as we have not created an international treaty on the arms trade, local initiatives will always be sabotaged by the inaction of the authorities and the weapons will continue to fall into the wrong hands. ”
Barbara Stocking, Director of Oxfam
The numbers speak for themselves
- About 640 million weapons are in circulation, one for every ten people.
- Some 8 million weapons are produced each year.
- About 14 billion military cartridges are manufactured each year, which equates to two balls per person.
- One thousand two hundred and forty-nine companies in more than 90 countries produce small arms. In some of these states, trade regulations are almost non-existent.
- In the two major arms producing countries – the United States and Russia – the volume of military-style weapons production is increasing.
- Instead of destroying old or over-sold weapons, most states are reselling their surplus stocks and thus ensuring the ever-increasing proliferation of weapons on the planet.
- Only three countries – Nigeria, Latvia and South Africa – have a policy of destroying surpluses or seizures of arms. Accurate information indicates cheap sales of weapons that end up in the hands of criminals or rebels.
- On average, about one million weapons are lost or stolen each year.
- Several hundred thousand weapons are lost by state security forces each year.
The example of Iraq is an extreme example of this last datum: in 2003, millions of weapons were looted across the country. At least 650000 tons of arms and explosives were seized by US and Allied forces throughout the country in abandoned military depots; remained largely unattended, large quantities of weapons were stolen.
Act for the destruction of weapons
All over the world, people who have escaped armed violence, families of victims and militants are destroying weapons:
- In Brazil, 6,500 illegal firearms seized by the police will be destroyed by Viva Rio, the Brazilian army and the Rio State authorities. Oscar Niemeyer, the famous Brazilian architect, will erect a monument of peace from destroyed weapons.
- In South Africa, arms control groups will work with the authorities to publicly destroy a cache of illegal weapons. This initiative will mark the entry into force of the new law on firearms control, which aims to reduce the stockpiles of weapons in the population.
- In London (UK), families who have lost a child in armed violence will crush 300 symbolic weapons using a steamroller.
- Finally, in Cambodia, 4000 illegal or surplus weapons will be destroyed in a ceremony called “Flame of Peace”.
The International Day for the Destruction of Small Arms is the major event of the Global Week of Action against Small Arms. On this occasion, groups from more than forty countries from around the world took the initiative to act against armed violence in their places of life.
“The real weapons of mass destruction are the conventional arms, it is time for governments to make as much effort to control the arms trade as to try to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”
Rebecca Peters, Director of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)