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The Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons

  • Mike Bourne

Abstract

The use and misuse of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) are estimated to result in over 500,000 deaths per year, and countless injuries.1 For example, one often cited statistic indicates that in 90 percent of conflicts since 1990, SALW have been the only weapons used in fighting, and have contributed to between 30 and 90 percent of civilian deaths in those conflicts.2 SALW were used extensively in the organization and conduct of the Rwandan Genocide; are the primary weapons of narco-insurgents and paramilitaries in Colombia; and are the dominant tools of ongoing insurgency in Iraq, to name but a few examples. Their widespread availability and misuse contributes to transnational organized crime and conflicts of all types, and is closely related to current concerns such as weak and collapsed states, human rights abuses, and the pantheon of both traditional and nontraditional security issues. They are the tools of the trade for terrorists, rebels, and criminals and their spread has gone largely unchecked for many decades.

Keywords

Black Market Central Intelligence Agency Illicit Trade Insurgent Group Gray Market 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 6.
    Edward Laurance, Light Weapons and Intrastate Conflict; Early Warning Factors and Preventive Action: A Report to the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict (New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1998), 12, 20–2.Google Scholar
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    Full title: The Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Material.Google Scholar
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    William Benson, Light Weapons Controls and Security Assistance: A Review of Current Practice (London: Saferworld and International Alert, 1998), 30. This convention promotes information exchange and interstate cooperation on eradicating the illicit production and trade of light weapons. It was negotiated through the OAS, and is hoped to provide a model for other regional initiatives. It also provided a model for the UN ECOSOC Firearms Protocol.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Elke Krahmann 2005

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  • Mike Bourne

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