UK: Control Arms – Multi-billion dollar trade puts Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the firing line

There are now estimated to be almost 650 million small arms in the world today, mostly in the hands of men, and nearly 60 percent of them in the hands of private individuals.

Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls suffer directly and indirectly from armed violence:

  • An attack with a gun is 12 times more likely to end in death than an attack with any other weapon
  • In South Africa, a woman is shot dead by a current or former partner every 18 hours
  • In the USA, a gun in the home increases the risk that someone in the household will be murdered by 41%; but increases the risk for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights by 272%
  • In France and South Africa, one in three Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights killed by their husbands are shot; in the USA this rises to two in three
  • Family killings are one category of homicides where Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights outnumber men as victims with her partner or male relative the most likely murderer.

Denise Searle, Amnesty International's Senior Director of Communications and Campaigning, said:

"Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are particularly at risk of certain crimes because of their gender - crimes such as family violence and rape. Given that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are almost never the buyers, owners or users of small arms, they also suffer completely disproportionately from armed violence.

"It is often claimed that guns are needed to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and their families but the reality is totally opposite. Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights want guns out of their lives"

Delegates from the Control Arms and Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights campaigns presented the main findings of their report at a news conference today in Johannesburg.

The Impact of Guns on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's Lives report spells out the circumstances in the home, in communities and during and after conflict where Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are most at risk from armed violence.

The report also examines a wide range of gun control measures adopted by states around the world usually as a result of the campaigns Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are spearheading against gun violence.

  • Between 1995, when Canada tightened its gun laws, and 2003, the gun murder rate for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights dropped by 40%
  • Five years after the gun laws in Australia were overhauled in 1996, the gun murder rate for female victims had dropped by half
  • Brazil has recently banned access to ownership of weapons before the age of 25 because young men and boys mostly perpetrate the massive level of gun violence.

Anna MacDonald, Director of Campaigns and Communications at Oxfam Great Britain, said:

"Rape has become a weapon of war. The reality for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls is that they are targeted in their homes, their fields, and their schools because of their gender. Without Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's active involvement in any peace and reconstruction process there can be no security, no justice and no peace"

Based on examples of best practice, the report makes a series of recommendations including:

  • Compulsory national gun licences for anyone wanting to own a gun in accordance with strict criteria that exclude all those with a history of family violence
  • The prohibition of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in national law as a criminal offence with the laws fully implemented and effective penalties for perpetrators and remedies for survivors
  • The specific training of law enforcement organisations to ensure that they respect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's human rights and that those who do not are brought to justice
  • The equal participation of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in all peace processes as well as in demobilisation, reintegration and disarmament programmes to ensure the effective collection and destruction of surplus and illegal weapons
  • The establishment of an Arms Treaty that would prohibit arms exports to those likely to use them for violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and other human rights violations
  • The banning of private individuals from owning military specification assault weapons, other than in the most exceptional circumstances consistent with respect for human rights

Judy Bassingthwaite, Director of Gun Free South Africa, representing the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), said:

"There is a clear need to develop sustainable livelihoods which are not based on a culture of violence. This means alternative role models that do not equate masculinity with armed violence and femininity with passivity are needed"

Background

The Control Arms campaign was launched by Amnesty International, Oxfam and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) in October 2003. It aims to reduce arms proliferation and misuse and to convince governments to introduce a binding Arms treaty.

The Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights campaign was launched by Amnesty International in March 2004. It aims to secure the adoption of laws, policies and practices that stop discrimination and violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

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