Putting children first: Biting the Bullet - Briefing 11

Building a framework for international action to address the impact of small arms on children.

Small arms and light weapons (SALW) are recognised as increasing the lethality, duration and intensity of conflict with the effects of these weapons lasting for many years.

The negative impacts of SALW are often greatest for the most vulnerable groups, including children. There is widespread international recognition of the negative effects of small arms on children, but efforts to control small arms and those to protect children have rarely been linked.

The United Nations 2001 Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and the UN Special Session on Children provide unique opportunities to examine the complex issues surrounding small arms and their impact on children, in particular, how the presence, proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons affect the lives of children.

International Alert, in collaboration with BASIC and Saferworld, is working to facilitate the dialogue between government and civil society in order that an effective programme of action follows from the 2001 UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects. The Biting the Bullet series provides governments and NGOs with information and policy recommendations on issues addressed at the conference.