Small Arms & Light Weapons

Most present-day conflicts are fought mainly with small arms and light weapons (SALW). Armed non-state actors, including insurgents, pirates, and terrorists, can increase their force and destabilize communities through the acquisition of unlawful firepower. Small arms are relatively cheap, light in weight, and easy to use, transport and conceal. The build up of small arms does not alone create the conflicts in which they are used; however, their excessive accumulation can escalate conflict by increasing the means of violence. Violence becomes more lethal and lasts longer, creating a greater sense of insecurity, which in turn leads to a greater demand for weapons. In 2013, the Security Council adopted resolution 2117, its first ever text dedicated exclusively to SALW, reminding states to take measures to prevent the sale, transfer, and export of SALW as well as to avoid violating existing arms embargos.

Given the impacts of the flow of arms on heightening levels of violence in conflict, the NGOWG WPS encourages the Security Council to acknowledge the impact of SALW on women and calls for reporting on gender-specific service provision, including for survivors of sexual and gender based violence committed with SALW. Women also participate in the trafficking of SALW and the gendered dimensions of the SALW also needs to be recognized in all conflicts to ensure the deterrence of the sale and transport of SALW between countries and regions.

Main Issue: Small Arms & Light Weapons (You are Here)
Sub-Issues: Mine Action

Small Arms & Light Weapons

Most present-day conflicts are fought mainly with small arms and light weapons (SALW). Armed non-state actors, including insurgents, pirates, and terrorists, can increase their force and destabilize communities through the acquisition of unlawful firepower. Small arms are relatively cheap, light in weight, and easy to use, transport and conceal. The build up of small arms does not alone create the conflicts in which they are used; however, their excessive accumulation can escalate conflict by increasing the means of violence. Violence becomes more lethal and lasts longer, creating a greater sense of insecurity, which in turn leads to a greater demand for weapons. In 2013, the Security Council adopted resolution 2117, its first ever text dedicated exclusively to SALW, reminding states to take measures to prevent the sale, transfer, and export of SALW as well as to avoid violating existing arms embargos.

Given the impacts of the flow of arms on heightening levels of violence in conflict, the NGOWG WPS encourages the Security Council to acknowledge the impact of SALW on women and calls for reporting on gender-specific service provision, including for survivors of sexual and gender based violence committed with SALW. Women also participate in the trafficking of SALW and the gendered dimensions of the SALW also needs to be recognized in all conflicts to ensure the deterrence of the sale and transport of SALW between countries and regions.

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