Thursday, 19 November 2009

IANSA Update 19.11.09

* Brazil: Rio police killed 10,000 over past 11 years
* Pakistan: Two female schoolteachers shot dead
* Venezuela: 32,000 guns destroyed
* Libya: Arms deal involved government officials
* Pacific Islands: Challenges in implementing PoA
* Other news: Nobel laureates support ban on Swiss arms exports; 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence; Book about women in the armed forces; Article on the ATT.

From January 1998 to September 2009, more than 10,000 people have been killed in clashes with Rio de Janeiro police, an average of 2.4 deaths per day, according to official figures revealed last week in Brazil. During certain periods the police have resorted to the use of excessive force to combat crime. Sociologist Ignacio Cano said: "Rio's death toll of more than 10,000 for eleven years is worse than many wars. Data has shown that the ratio of civilians killed to those injured has reached 3.5. If police were not seeking to kill suspects, a greater proportion of injured might be expected. Rio de Janeiro police need to be trained in tactical threat assessment so they can judge how to use force in a proportionate and lawful way."

After having destroyed scores of girls' schools across the North West Frontier Province (Pakistan), the Taliban has now started targeting female teachers. On 4 November schoolteachers Shazia Begum and Shamim Bibi were shot dead in Bajaur Agency when Taliban militants ambushed the public vehicle in which they were travelling. Shaheen Quresh from Blue Veins said: "The drop-out ratio among girls has increased alarmingly in our province because girls and female teachers are afraid to come out of their houses to go to school or teach."

The Venezuelan government destroyed 32,000 guns on 11 November. The weapons were seized from people arrested for violent crimes and also from prisoners this year. Nearly a third of the weapons were homemade, and the rest were produced industrially. According to government figures, there are 6 million guns in Venezuela, a country with a population of 28 million. In addition to confiscating and destroying weapons, the police have increased officer numbers, renovated their equipment and begun training unarmed community police.

High level ranking Libyan officials and Italian intermediaries were involved in a vast arms dealing operation dismantled in 2006, according to a new report from GRIP. The operation was discovered by Italian anti-mafia prosecutors during an investigation into international drug trafficking. The interrupted arms deal included 500,000 assault rifles and 10 million pieces of ammunition destined from China to Libya.

Many South Pacific states overlook the importance of implementing the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms (PoA), partly because their main security and SALW concerns fall outside the scope of the PoA. Looking at five Pacific countries, a new report explores the gaps, challenges and opportunities of using the PoA as the central framework for small arms assistance. The report is published by the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).

Other news:

Two Nobel Peace laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and human rights activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina, have publicly endorsed the Swiss campaign for a national ban on arms exports. The referendum on the ban will be held on 29 November.

IANSA women in Colombia, Macedonia, Senegal and other countries will organise events to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November to 10 December). This year they will focus on urging their governments to take action on their commitments to ending armed violence - including domestic violence - against women. If you are planning an event during the 16 days campaign, please email the details to

Latin American countries have increased their involvement in international peace operation by 725% in the last decade. However, very few female military or police officers have participated in these operations. The new book "Women in Armed and Police Forces: Resolution 1325 and Peace Operations in Latin America" describes the regional challenges to integrating women into armed forces and peace operations.

The November newsletter of the German Action Network against Small Arms is now available. It contains an article by Robert Linder from Oxfam Germany about the ATT negotiation process at the UN.

Please send your news and stories for the Update to


IANSA - International Action Network on Small Arms

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