Sunday, 3 June 2012


Oxfam says 12 billion bullets are produced each year - almost two for every person in the world
Humanitarian charity Oxfam has launched a new campaign to call for the regulation of the sale of ammunition around the world. It comes ahead of a United Nations summit in July on bringing in a new arms trade treaty to regulate the sale of arms. Oxfam is arguing that any treaty must also regulate ammunition trade or the treaty "doesn't make sense". But a number of nations, including the US and China, oppose such a move. Egypt, Syria, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and several other countries are also against including ammunition trade in any final treaty, arguing that it will be too difficult to monitor. 

In Kenya, International NGO's like Oxfam, Danish Demining Group(DRC), Safer World are doing substantive work in areas of Turkana and towards the South Sudan Border. NORKENYA, being a local NGO, will be undertaking an advocacy work on SALW (Small Arms and Light Weapons) reduction strategy in areas bordering the Kenya-Somalia Border and specifically in Border Point 1, Khadija Haji, Damas, Burhaje(Elwak), Elram-near Kotulo and will stretch up to Gerille, Diif and Dadaab areas in North Eastern Province in due soon.

While Oxfam was releasing it's report, Another Special Report series that comprises of research publications jointly released by the Small Arms Survey(Geneva) with partners including the Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons titled " Availability of Small Arms and Perceptions of Security in Kenya was being released in Nairobi, Kenya touching on almost all aspects of SALW.

Download Small Arms Survey Report Here

In her report, Oxfam found that the global ammunitions industry for small arms and light weapons is worth $4.3bn (£2.78bn), much more than the trade in the weapons themselves, with 12 billion bullets produced a year. Anna Macdonald, head of arms control at the charity, said: "A gun without a bullet is a very large metal stick, basically. Ammunition is literally the fuel of conflict.

"The trade in ammunition is lucrative, but while the monetary cost of production is low, the price paid in human lives for the trade in ammunition is incalculable."

Download Oxfam Report Here

The parameters of the new treaty, if is is passed, will be worked at a month-long UN conference in July between arms companies, governments and aid agencies. A draft treaty which would ban all weapons sales to countries that fail to meet various human rights criteria has already been provisionally agreed to by 153 counties. The aim is for it to bring various international laws governing the sale of arms into one legally-binding treaty.
Global sales of ammunition are worth more than $4bn and are growing at a faster rate than trade in guns, yet there is virtually no regulation in place to control where the bullets end up, according to international agency Oxfam, in a new report today.

The report, 'Stop a Bullet, Stop a War,' reveals how poor regulation of the ammunition trade makes it virtually impossible to put an accurate figure on the number of bullets currently being produced and transferred across the world each year, though estimates hover at around the 12bn mark - enough to kill nearly every man, woman and child on the planet twice. The trade in ammunition for small arms is worth $4.3bn per year, while the trade in firearms and light weapons themselves is worth $2.68bn (Small Arms Survey figures).

Oxfam says only a minority of countries report on their ammunition exports and there is hardly any monitoring by intergovernmental agencies covering this trade. To make matters worse, data on ammunition is often not listed separately and is just added to data on general arms exports, making it hard to monitor the bullets' final destination. Of the 34 of states that have publicly reported on their arms exports since 2006, 28 (see full lists below) did manage to report on ammunition exports as an explicit category including the UK, the US and France. But due to the magnitude of the trade, regulation through an international treaty is urgently needed to ensure transparent reporting. Macdonald added: "There are no global controls on ammunition flows and no global reporting system to keep track on where the billions of bullets are ending up. That must change."

Oxfam researchers found some of the biggest gaps in information related to undocumented ammunition transfers to war-torn countries. The report says many bullets end up diverted into the hands of armed groups, often prolonging conflicts and increasing the chance of human rights abuses.