Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
Press Statement from the newly launched Humanitarian Coalition
For Immediate Release
11 July 2001
do mind the dying'
A copy of the full statement - Humanitarian Statement of Concern
Organisations supporting this statement - list of the signatories
... say more than 60 humanitarian aid organizations in a statement urging effective action to control small arms sales.
Groups working with refugees, victims of violence and development organizations urge governments to stop arms sales to others that violate human rights and to take steps to reduce suffering.
Today, sixty humanitarian organizations working on the front lines in conflict zones around the world with refugees, victims of violence and local development organizations, called on government officials gathered at the United Nations this week to control small arms transfers that contribute to human suffering.
'The uncontrolled proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons have contributed to a global humanitarian crisis - a crisis which results in approximately 500,000 deaths a year. The ability of workers to undertake their duties is increasingly constrained due to the threat and use of small arms, as many are kidnapped, assaulted and deprived of their liberty under the threat of a gun.'
declared the organizations, which include CARE International, World Vision International, the International Rescue Committee, Human Rights Watch, Caritas Secours International and Action Aid.
The statement is addressed to government representatives gathered in New York today for the start of the first ever United Nations world conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
'Our message is we do mind the dying. The bottom line for our organisations is that there is a tremendous human cost from small arms proliferation. There is an urgent necessity for governments to take action to stop the supply of arms and ammunition to violators of human rights and international humanitarian law and to address the enormous human suffering caused by the millions of weapons in circulation.'
said Stein Villumstad, assistant general secretary for Norwegian Church Aid, which also signed the statement.
Small arms violence connects people all over the world. People from diverse countries and backgrounds such as two year old Anyakun Noshugi from Uganda who has lost a leg as a result of an armed raid on her home, to Dr. Shain Hashtroudi of Washington DC, senselessly murdered in a car-jacking with a stolen weapon. Hundreds of thousands of people survive small arms abuse and use, like Anyakun, only to be painfully disabled for the rest of their lives diminishing opportunity, life expectancy and well-being.
'The devastating loss of life and ability due to gun violence is a humanitarian crisis which demands global governmental attention. The UN conference is an opportunity for governments who trade in arms to hear the voices of victims and survivors and act with responsibility to curb the worst aspects of small arms proliferation.'
said Martin Griffiths, Director of the Geneva based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
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