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June 5, 2017


The Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons is celebrating 15 year Anniversary since its creation this year. We want to take this opportunity to highlight the problem with small arms and light weapons-related violence around the world.

The Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) is an international organization gathering parliamentarians globally across party lines. As established in the Strategic Plan 2016-2018, the overall objective aims to contribute to the achievement of more peaceful and developed societies through parliamentary action against armed violence for increased human security. The Forum is the only global organization to gather parliamentarians with the purpose of reducing and preventing armed violence, by specifically targeting small arms and light weapons (SALW).

Armed violence caused by the proliferation and misuse of SALW has wide-spread human, economic and social costs; it threatens human security and hinders development. Furthermore, it threatens democracy and good governance, facilitates violations of human rights, and contributes to the persistence of armed conflict in all parts of the world. The issue of SALW was acknowledged internationally by the inclusion of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 in the 2030 Agenda, which recognizes the reduction of illicit arms flows and violence as vital for sustainable development and peace.

Methodologically the Forum’s work is resting on two main pillars: policy-shaping and capacity-building. The work is continuously coupled to relevant national, regional and international frameworks and processes, where the most relevant international frameworks are: the 2030 Agenda, the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons and the Arms Trade Treaty.

The point of departure of the work of the Forum is the vital tools that parliamentarians possess in order to reduce and prevent SALW-related violence through their three key roles: the legislative, the over-sight and the awareness-raising functions. The Forum provides a forum for parliamentarians, representatives from civil society, governments and international organizations to meet and discuss; it also provides a valuable support for parliamentarians in their work.

We are launching a new campaign “Words over Bullets” this week between the 5-12th of June in relation to the Global Week of Action against Gun Violence, initiated by the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA). We will also have a campaign week later in September 2017.

The objective with the campaign is to contribute to raising global awareness on the importance of reducing and preventing small arms and light weapons-related violence. It includes short films, photos and messages on this subject from parliamentarians, civil society and other relevant actors that represent different regions of the world.

Definition of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), as based on the 1997 UN Panel of Governmental Expert (available on that considers portability a defining characteristic.

The Panel’s list includes both civilian, private, and military weapons that fire a projectile with the condition that the unit or system may be carried by an individual, a small number of people, or transported by a pack animal or a light vehicle. The Panel’s list is organized into 'small arms' and 'light weapons':

·         small arms: revolvers and self-loading pistols,  rifles and carbines, assault rifles, sub-machine guns and light machine guns.

·         light weapons: heavy machine guns, hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade launchers, portable anti-aircraft guns, portable anti-tank guns, recoilless rifles, portable launchers of anti-tank missile and rocket systems; portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS) and mortars of calibres of less than 100 mm.


Sources that are used in the campaign:

Adeniyi, Adesoji, 2017, ‘The Human Cost of Uncontrolled Arms in Africa: Cross-national research on seven African countries’ Oxfam 2017,

Chapman, Simon; Alpers Philip & Jones Michael. 2016. 'Association Between Gun Law Reforms and Intentional Firearm Deaths in Australia, 1979-2013' AMA. 2016; 316(3):291-299

Economic Comission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), 2016, October, Press Release, 'ECLAC Calls for Taking Innovative and Effective Measures to Guarantee Women's Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean' (accessed 2016-06-09)

IANSA, 2017, factsheet 'Global Overview of the Small Arms Problem' (accessed 2017-05-24),

Institute for Economics and Peace, 2016, ‘The Economic Value of Peace 2016’

Groupman, Jerome. New Yorker. 2016. ‘The Most Notable Medical Finding of 2016’ (accessed 2017-05-29)

Mancuso and Ernesto U. Savona Marina (Eds.), 2017. Fighting Illict Firearms Trafficking Routes and Actors at European Level. Financial Report of Project FIRE. Milan: Transcrime – Sacred Heart Catholic University 2017

Small Arms Survey, 2011, ‘Estimating Civilian Owned Firearms’,

Small Arms Survey, 2016, 'A Gendered Analysis of Violent Deaths'    

Small Arms Survey, 2016, ‘Firearms and Violent Deaths’,

Small Arms Survey (accessed 2017-05-24)

Small Arms Survey (accessed 2017-06-01)

UNODA, 2009, ‘Conflicts of Interests: Children and Guns in Zones of Instability’,

UNODC, 2013, ‘Global Study on Firearms’ (United Nations publication, Sales No. 14.IV.1)

World Health Organization (WHO), Website information on 'World report on violence and health', 2002 (accessed 2017-06-09)

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