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Small Arms “Worse Than WMD”

  • April 9th, 2007
  • Posted by Emily Balfe

guns-reduced.jpgThe head of a leading international peacekeeping organisation has said small arms are proving a greater threat to world security than weapons of mass destruction.

Report by Emily Balfe:

Peter Kroll, Director of the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC). says the supply of guns and other light weapons is causing such major loss of life and injury in developing countries, it requires higher priority attention in peace and security work.
His agency was formed in Germany fourteen years ago to assist with the clean-up after the Cold War, engaged in projects like the conversion of army camps or some defence industries to other uses.

With fifty core staff it is funded by governments in Europe and larger non-governmental organisations, to carry out applied research, act in an advisory capacity and provide training to personnel in peace-keeping roles.

He said in Bonn (4.4.07) it was now concentrating its work on post-conflict rehabilitation in developing countries, because of the links between violence and poverty or weak economic development.

Reviewing current operations, he said small arms, as found in local conflicts throughout the developing world, remained a high priority.

Work in that field included making surveys or inventories of weapons in a particular area.

In one successful case, BICC work had influenced the government of Kenya to make its Nairobi Declaration, publishing a formula for arms regulation that was taken up by the United Nations, in a program for settling conflicts in seven East African countries.

“In some cases we have carried out surveys on small arms and light weapons which in my view are the real weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

“Everyone talks about ABC (Atomic, Biological, Chemical), but to my mind small arms are at least as dangerous.

“One of our major topics right from the start was small arms and light weapons, then secondly disarmanent in general, and then peace building, the area where we give more and more of our resources for conflict resolution.”