Putting a human face to the problem of small arms proliferation

This paper examines the relevance of gender for the effective implementation of the 2001 UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.

It provides suggested textual changes for consideration in the process of reviewing the text in 2006. The paper is intended to assist both small arms practitioners who are currently implementing the Programme of Action and practitioners in development and conflict contexts to enhance effectiveness of their work through gender-aware analysis and practices. It is specifically aimed at policy makers (including UN General Assembly 1st committee members) as they discuss new agreements that will complement the current Programme of Action and potentially revise the text in 2006.

It is important to recognise that gender means more than focusing on women as victims. Indeed men are the main direct victims and perpetrators of small arms violence. The definition of gender in this paper includes men and boys as well as women and girls.