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Trade in small arms growing

[Sudan] Small arms lined up on the ground at a disarmament collection point in Akobo, Jonglei State, South Sudan, July 2006. Efforts by the Government of South Sudan to disarm the White Army in early 2006 met widespread resistance and led to unusually hig
Small arms lined up on the ground at a disarmament collection point in South Sudan. (UN/IRIN)

Trade in small arms and light weapons has been on the rise globally, fuelling violence in post-conflict regions, according to a new report.

UN data presented in the 2009 Small Arms Survey, an annual report published by the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, suggest that trade in small arms reached US$2.9 billion in 2006 – a 28 percent increase since 2000.

It was not clear whether the weapons were destined for civilian, police or military use, but "this increased trade is of concern because we know that legal weapons transfers can often enter illicit markets and be used in manners other than those intended," Eric Berman, managing director of the Small Arms Survey, told IRIN.

"The misallocation and misuse of weapons can have significant detrimental effects on stability and development," he commented. The report highlighted the challenges associated with the abundance of unregulated small arms and light weapons that were still around when peace came.

According to the report, "Certain post-conflict societies and population groups suffer rates of direct armed violence comparable to (or even higher than) those experienced during armed conflicts."


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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