Small Arms and Light Weapons

Small arms and light weapons are used extensively in wars and civil conflict in Africa and throughout the world.  According to the United Nations, small arms were the weapons of choice in 47 of 49 major conflicts in the 1990s.  Small arms were responsible for some 300,000 deaths per year in armed conflicts.  Most recently small arms played a major role in Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia. 

In response the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Traffic in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects was held in July 2001.  A Program of Action was adopted and a number of governments have taken steps to implement the Program.  To find out more details visit the United Nations web site on Small Arms and Light Weapons.  Also visit the web site of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).

A number of Nongovernmental Organizations have been active on the issue and produced reports and databases. (Note: Links on this page open up new windows.)

British American Security Information Council (BASIC)

Human Rights Watch, Arms Project

International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)

Small Arms Survey
The Small Arms Survey has an extensive online database and publishes an annual survey.  The latest survey was published by Oxford University Press.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

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