Norway, 13 June 2008
From 2-8 June, civil society in Norway and Denmark united with 70 countries around the world marked the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence.
Throughout the week, Defend International (DI) highlighted the need for stronger measures to stop the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons with activities including an open debate in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, on June 5, 2008 to bring attention to the global arms trade and its impact on women. Danish author Lillian Simonsen talked of her encounters with Iraqi women affected by gun violence. DI’s President Widad Akrawi informed attendees about the work of IANSA and IANSA Women’s Network. The event ended spectacularly with songs for peace and human dignity played on guitar by Danish musician Morten Borod.
Widad Akrawi said: ‘Guns kill more than 350,000 people a year around the world, and severely injures more than a million. Many thousands more are tortured or forced to flee their homes. More than half the world’s countries are involved in producing the 10-14 billion rounds of ammunition, sufficient to shoot every person in the world twice. The illicit trafficking, uncontrolled spread and misuse of arms fuels human rights violations, insecurity and conflicts around the globe. Defend International calls upon the governments to identify and update factors which should be considered when deciding whether to authorize a particular transfer or export, and to develop detailed international guidelines to assist States in regulating gun ownership among their own citizens in order to keep guns off our streets and out of our homes and schools.’
Anja Svava Henriksen, Campaign coordinator of Unge For Menneskerettigheder Danmark, said: ‘In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declared in article three, Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. The right to life is the most fundamental of rights. Without it, no other right can exist. To guarantee this right, there is a need to effective arms control policies designed to reduce tensions.’
Rebecca Peters, director of IANSA, said: ‘The civilians will continue to suffer as long as its gun laws permit people to pick up guns as casually as a bag of groceries. Gun violence is not only committed by professional criminals. Injustice, unemployment, jealousy or fear can kindle the spark of violence. A gun can turn a moment of irrationality into a lifetime of regret. Tough regulation of the legal trade is needed to prevent the proliferation of this deadly product.’
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Women Send Strong MessageThe Need For Effective Arms Controls Measures Remains Urgent :
Norway, 13 June 2008