Small, but lethal – Small arms ammunition and the arms trade treaty

Each year, 12 billion bullets are produced, two bullets per person in the world. Unrestricted access to ammunition fuels conflicts and crime across the globe. Often referred to as the “weapon of mass destruction of the poor”, hundreds of thousands of people are killed by small arms every year. Many more are injured, traumatized and forced to flee. Today, the international trade in conventional weapons – including small arms and ammunition - is poorly regulated. At the United Nations in 2009, after years of discussions, the vast majority of governments agreed a timetable to establish a “strong and robust” Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) with the “highest common standards” to control international transfers of conventional arms, to be negotiated in 2012. To help inform decisions on how to regulate the international trade in small arms ammunition through the Arms Trade Treaty, Forum for Environment and Development (ForUM) and Norwegian Church Aid commissioned this report from Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). The reportis written by Hilde Wallacher and Alexander Harang.