July 9th was the International Gun Destruction Day – a campaign held every year to reflect on the effects of small arms, and to call for surpluses to be destroyed rather than stockpiled, transferred or resold. This campaign was initiated in 2001 by the United Nations to commend actions that have been taken to reduce gun violence, as well as to encourage greater commitment by governments to the responsible disposal of surplus small arms.
Defend International members and partners have raised awareness about this important date and urged government officials to destroy their surplus weapons and ammunition stocks. A member of the International Action Network on Small Arms and Light Weapons (IANSA), Defend International has joined IANSA’s call for the implementation of key international agreements that aim to reduce the grave impacts of small arms and light weapons on civilians. The careful management of stockpiles of small arms and light weapons is in line with UN Member States’ obligations under the new Arms Trade Treaty and their commitments to the 2001 UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, and the Sustainable Development Goals .