United States Marks International Small Arms Destruction Day

Media Note
Washington, DC
July 9, 2010

The United States is pleased to join the international community in observing International Small Arms Destruction Day as part of our ongoing efforts to reduce armed violence and support the rule of law around the world.

Excess, loosely secured, or otherwise at-risk small arms, light weapons and munitions pose both a security and humanitarian risk worldwide. Since 2001, when the United Nations first called for an international observance of the impact of illicit flows of small arms and light weapons, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has invested over $130 million to destroy more than 1.4 million small arms and light weapons, and 80,000 tons of munitions, and almost 32,000 man-portable air-defense systems, which could have posed a threat to global aviation in the hands of terrorists or insurgents.

The United States takes this opportunity to encourage all States to continue implementing relevant UN and regional instruments on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, including the UN Program of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects; The International Instrument on Tracing of Small Arms and Light Weapons; and recommendations made by the UN Group of Governmental Experts to consider further steps to enhance international cooperation in preventing, combating and eradicating illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons.

The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction. Since 1993, the United States has promoted peace and security through the commitment of more than $1.5 billion for the safe disposal of small arms, light weapons, and munitions, as well as for removal of landmines and other explosive remnants of war in
47 countries. For more information, please visit the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement at www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.

PRN: 2010/914