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Shattered Lives: the case for tough international arms control


Arms kill more than half a million men, women, and children on average each year. Many thousands more are maimed, or tortured, or forced to flee their homes. The uncontrolled proliferation of arms fuels human rights violations, escalates conflicts, and intensifies poverty.

This report was launched as part of an international campaign to challenge governments on the impact of the widespread proliferation and misuse of arms around the world during the first few years of the ‘war on terror’.

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To confront the widespread proliferation of arms crisis, Oxfam, Amnesty International, and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) together launched an international campaign calling for effective arms controls to make people genuinely safer from the threat of armed violence.

They are calling for local, national and international action and particularly urging governments to agree an Arms Trade Treaty by 2006 to prevent arms being exported to destinations where they are likely to be used to commit grave violations of international law.

“Every government in the world has a responsibility to control arms – both their possession within its borders, to protect its own citizens, and their export across its borders, to ensure respect for international human rights and humanitarian law in the wider world. The world’s most powerful governments, who are also the world’s biggest arms suppliers, have the greatest responsibility to control the global trade.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council – France, Russia, China, the UK, and the USA – together account for 88 per cent of the world’s conventional arms exports; and these exports contribute regularly to gross abuses of human rights.”

The report is divided into six sections:

  1. Arms – security for whom?
  2. The human cost of arms abuse
  3. Why act now?
  4. The arms bazaar
  5. Solutions at all levels
  6. The time for action is now

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