Campaigners call for Arms Trade Treaty as new figures show massive increase in arms transfers
Military spending and the global arms trade rose dramatically in 2003, international arms campaigners revealed as they
marked the second worldwide Control Arms day on Saturday.
The downward trend in arms sales has been reversed, with both 2001 and 2003 showing the first increases in the arms
market in almost a decade. The figures, from one of the world's leading sources of information and data (the SIPRI
Yearbook 2004), also show a dramatic 18% rise in military spending during 2002 and 2003.
These figures come amid further calls for an international Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the export of arms across the
“The massive rise in arms transfers makes the case for controls more pressing than ever. Until there are global controls
on this deadly trade, people’s lives will continue to be ruined by weapons in the wrong hands,” said Barry Coates,
Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand.
The first Control Arms day (9th October 2003) was marked in 70 countries across the world, when Oxfam, Amnesty
International and IANSA (the International Action Network on Small Arms) launched the Control Arms campaign. The
campaigners are pushing for a legally-binding, international Arms Trade Treaty to help stop weapons being sold to
destinations where they might undermine human rights, fuel conflict or exacerbate poverty.
"We know that an increase in the arms trade also means a rise in black market sales, as many small arms are diverted to
human right abusers, warlords, terrorist groups and common criminals. Control Arms is working to stop these black market
diversions," said Rebecca Peters, Director of IANSA.
So far, the political leaders of countries including Brazil, Cambodia, Mali, Macedonia, Costa Rica, Finland and the
Netherlands have given their support to Control Arms. The campaign was given another boost last week when Britain
announced its support for the Arms Trade Treaty. Britain is the second biggest arms exporter in the world.
There are around 639 million small arms and light weapons in the world today. Eight million more are produced every
year. Without strict control, such weapons will continue to fuel violent conflict, state repression, crime, and domestic
As part of the Control Arms campaign, Oxfam, Amnesty and IANSA also launched the Million Faces petition, a visual means
by which members of the public worldwide can pledge their support to the campaign by posting a photograph or self
portrait on the website www.controlarms.org Celebrities including Dido, Desmond Tutu, Michael Moore and Bob Geldof have
Notes for Editors:
SIPRI is the Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute.
Conventional arms kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. There are 639 million small arms in the world, or one
for every ten people, produced by over 1,000 companies in at least 98 countries.
Amnesty International, Oxfam and IANSA are calling for an International Arms Trade Treaty to introduce legally-binding
standards to control the supply of weapons around the globe. The campaign aims to ensure that arms are not sold, by any
country, to places where they are likely to fuel conflict and instability or be used to commit human rights abuses.
Oxfam has repeatedly called on the New Zealand government, particularly the Minister for Disarmament Marian Hobbs, to
support an International Arms Trade Treaty.