Highest casualties in NE, J&K due to armed violence
Dimapur, December 2 (MExN): The Control Arms Foundation of India is organizing a briefing session for Indian Parliamentarians on the United Nations Process for an Arms Trade Treaty, on Thursday, December 3. The purpose of the meeting is to make the parliamentarians aware of the deadly trade in arms which is a huge threat to human security and yet operates without global binding regulations, the foundation said in a communiqué.
The Foundation said that each year about 500,000 people are killed directly with conventional weapons and many more are injured, abused, forcibly displaced and bereaved as a result of armed violence. Around 58,000 Indians died due to armed violence in the last 15 years, the communiqué said. “The highest casualties have been reported from India’s Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir. If the death, injury and disability resulting from small arms were categorized as a disease, we would view it as an epidemic,” the Foundation said.
The foundation lamented that the global trade that fuels the epidemic of armed violence is not subject to international regulation. The arms industry is unlike any other. It operates without regulation. “There is more regulation in music and film industry than in arms,” the Foundation said.
1,135 companies in 98 countries manufacture arms, ammunitions and components worldwide. According to Binalakshmi Nepram, Secretary General of Control Arms Foundation of India, “90 per cent of conventional arms exports in world are from permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council namely USA, UK, Russia, China and France. They manufacture around 8 million new small arms are manufactured every year and it is these weapons that flood India. At present, it is impossible to monitor or interrupt this deadly flow of weapons. This is because there are no agreed global standards for governments when authorizing exports or transfers.”
In Jammu and Kashmir and the north eastern states alone, the security forces have, since 1990, seized approximately 46,000 weapons of all types, whose markings clearly indicated that these were brought into India through illicit channels from outside the country. This continues to pose a significant challenge to the Government. In the last two years alone (2006-07), the number of illicit SALW seized or confiscated by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and in the north eastern areas was approximately 3,953
On 6 December 2006, work to find a solution on unregulated arms trade started with the international Arms Trade Treaty process that began immediately following a historic vote in the UN General Assembly, which saw 153 governments supporting the proposed Arms Trade Treaty. In October 2009 at the United Nations First Committee, after years of discussions and debates, the United Nations agreed a timetable to establish a ‘strong and robust’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) with the ‘highest common standards’ to control international transfers of conventional arms. 153 countries voted in favor of the resolution, 19 abstained and 1 voted against.
India in spite of being a country which has seen the impact of these arms in the country has continuously abstained from voting at 2006 and also at 2009 United Nations First Committee. According to Dr Anuradha Chenoy of JNU, “The Indian government has repeatedly admitted the easy availability of illegal arms and that they are unable to stop or even arrest people engaged in such illegal sale or production. It is thus logical that the international community adopt a treaty to regulate illicit arms trade. India has a historic opportunity to be involved in such an important process”. India possesses 40 million firearms many illegal according to United Nations sources.