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Small arms in the hands of ill-disciplined civilians and armed groups are a primary threat to development and humanitarian assistance, limiting access to beneficiaries and resulting in the suspension of operations and projects.
Violent assaults on humanitarian and development workers remain at an unacceptably high level, but until recently the threat of armed violence on workers has not been well documented. The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Small Arms Survey gathered information from more than 2,000 workers in 96 countries about how the misuse of small arms affects humanitarian and development agency staff and their beneficiaries. ‘No Relief’ represents the largest victimisation survey of humanitarian and development workers ever undertaken.
Respondents described widely variable security environments, but reported consistently large numbers of civilians to be in possession of small arms. In violent security environments time may be lost due to evacuations and delays in reaching beneficiary populations and operations may even be suspended.
Key findings include:
The pervasiveness of small arms has led to a situation where they are often treated as an unavoidable aspect of humanitarian and development work. The following recommendations are provided to governments and humanitarian and development agencies:
‘No Relief: Surveying the effects of gun violence on humanitarian and development personnel’, by Cate Buchanan and Robert Muggah, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Small Arms Survey, June 2005 Full document.
‘In the Line of Fire: Surveying the perceptions of humanitarian and development personnel of the impacts of small arms and light weapons’ by Ryan Beasley, Cate Buchanan and Robert Muggah, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Small Arms Survey, November 2002 Full document.
Funded by: DFID (2004-2005)
id21 Research Highlight: 19 September 2005
Human Security and Small Arms Programme
Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
114 rue de Lausanne
+41 (0) 22 9081130
Fax: +41 (0) 22 9081140
Contact the contributor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Small Arms Survey
47 Avenue Blanc
+41 (0)22 9085777
Fax: +41 (0)22 7322738
Contact the contributor: email@example.com
Other related links:
'Small arms – big bills'
'Arms are out of control: how inappropriate weapons sales exaggerate poverty'
'Ending the gun culture: can small arms and light weapons be decommissioned?'
Small Arms Survey 2005: Weapons at War
No Guns Please, We Are Children, UNICEF publication