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1101 News on Small Arms – January 2010

European meeting on Small arms and light weapons (SALW)

AEFJN with many other organizations working on small arms in Europe attended the annual meeting between NGOs and European Union officials working on arms trade issues (COARM) at the end of 2010, in Brussels, Belgium.

During day 1, a series of hypothetical arms transfer cases were analysed with a risk assessment exercise against the criteria contained in the EU Common Position on arms transfers to identify whether a license should or should not be granted.

Day 2 focused on NGO planning and strategy for the upcoming year around a range of themes including developing a robust ATT and further strengthening the EU Common Position. Bruce Millar, Campaigns and Outreach Coordinator participated, funded by Saferworld.

EU funding to fight illicit small arms

The European Union has granted 500,000 Euro to the Regional Centre on Small Arms in Eastern Africa (RECSA) to coordinate a project aimed at enhancing the role of civil society and national efforts against illicit small arms. This grant is in addition to the 3.3 million Euro granted to RECSA in March 2010 for the 1st Pan-African Project on small arms.


'Grey List' of Finnish arms exports

Arms exports from Finland to 26 countries in 2008 may have been in conflict with EU policy according to a new report from SaferGlobe Finland. Based on EU criteria and other guidelines for arms exports, the report includes a 'Grey List' of recipient countries including Afghanistan, China and Israel. "We are questioning whether it is in line with Finland's foreign policy to send weapons to these kinds of countries", said Jarmo Pykaelae of SaferGlobe.


Report on arms transfers to conflict zones in Africa

Two recent reports by SIPRI conclude that greater responsibility for arms transfers to conflict zones in Africa must be taken by arms suppliers including potential arms supplying states. The reports highlight the limitations of attempts by the UN to control the flows of arms into two African conflict zones-the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Somalia.


Third Preparatory Committees (PrepComs) at the UN in view of the ATT

Later this month (February 2011), UN member states will attend the third of four Preparatory Committees (PrepComs) with the aim of preparing the ground for agreement on an international legally-binding Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in 2012.  The 2012 negotiations will represent the culmination of 15 years of campaigning by NGOs, parliamentarians, Nobel Laureates and victims of armed violence.

The poorly regulated trade in arms fuels conflict, destabilises entire regions, undermines sustainable development and contributes to human rights abuses and violations of international law.  While states have a right to self-defence and a legitimate need to retain arms for defence and security, poor regulation of the trade has devastating consequences.  Approximately two thousand people die each day as a result of armed violence, with many more injured, displaced or traumatised.

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