Small arms cause about 90% of today's war casualties, half of whom are civilians. As the appendix to this article shows, 1998 was marked by feverish activity in which NGOs, major regional organizations and the UN took up and supported aspects of small arms control. Following the landmine campaign, governments - including that of the USA - vied for the mantle of leadership. The small arms campaign is broader than the Ottawa model of government-NGO collaboration over landmines because of the scope of the problem and the civilian and political instability these weapons cause. There should be greater transparency from governments about the exports they authorize, and restraints on sales which could be used - as in Turkey and Indonesia - to repress the civilian population. Efforts should be increased to restrict the worldwide spread of arms supplies to non-state forces such as insurgent groups. Small arms to Afghanistan, for example, have been extensively recycled elsewhere. The development of international law to ban small arms supplies would be a great step forward in curbing their further proliferation.
Curbing the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons