Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

UN Takes Aim at Small Arms

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

UN Takes Aim at Small Arms

Article excerpt

A United Nations (UN) recommendation for a reference manual detailing methods for destroying small arms and light weapons with minimal environmental impact may soon come to fruition. On 15 November 2000, the report Methods of Destruction of Small Arms, Light Weapons, Ammunition, and Explosives was released by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. The report provides a thorough overview of current practices for destroying arms, including environmental considerations where known. It is intended to guide the creation of a manual on environmentally sound methods for destroying small arms, light weapons, and related ammunition and explosives taken in war or surrendered by citizens.

The report comes in response to a September 2000 request for such a manual by the UN Security Council. The report was prepared with the assistance of a number of government experts and in collaboration with relevant UN bodies through the Coordinating Action on Small Arms mechanism. In addition to detailing methods of destruction, the report also suggests that the manual provide guidance on safe handling, transport, and storage procedures.

"Small arms" are weapons that are designed for personal use--revolvers, rifles, submachine guns, and light machine guns. "Light weapons" are designed for a crew of people--heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles, and portable antiaircraft guns. …

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