Amnesty concerned over use of light arms

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 5:

Amnesty International (AI) Nepal has expressed concern over the increasing use of small arms in the ongoing conflict by both the warring factions. The rights body has urged the authorities to formulate stern laws to curb the misuse and inflow of light weapons to the country. Releasing the Nepali version of the AI and Oxfam International’s global report on control of arms titled ‘Shattered Lives’ here today, AI Nepal’s chairman Pradeep Pokharel said the security forces and the Maoists have used small arms that has resulted in massive killings, human rights violations and displacement in large numbers. He said the country needs strong laws to control such arms adding that the use of arms has increased poverty and worsened economy.

According to him, a draft treaty on arms control is going to be presented before the United Nations general assembly next year and he urged the government to show its support for the treaty. The report highlights the global trend of small arms business and its worldwide negative impact. But it has failed to include Nepal.

Raju Sarkar, director of AI Nepal, said it was difficult to hold surveys regarding the import and use of arms in the country but the “efforts are underway” to do so. According to the report, 98 countries manufacture small arms and light weapons and there are around 135 such manufacturing industries. On an average, civilians throughout the world own 60 per cent of the small arms and there is one arm for every 10 persons. Pokharel said one person is killed every minute and around 500,000 people in the world are killed every year owing to the misuse of arms.