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The Stanley Foundation

World Press Review is a program of the Stanley Foundation.

  July 2001 Cover Story:
A young soldier-in-training in the Free Aceh separatist movement in Indonesia brandishes an AK-47. (Photo: AFP)
The Small-Arms Scourge
How illegal gun traffic holds the world hostage

The notion of arms control conjures up images of missile silos and nuclear warheads. Yet conflicts from Colombia to Chechnya thrive on easy access to small, portable weapons such as machine guns and rocket launchers. The widespread availability of light but lethal arms allows rebel groups and liberation armies to recruit children to do the dirty work of killing. Meanwhile, superpowers and their first- and second-world brothers in arms-making fight for market share in this lucrative trade.

Small arms are defined as pistols, rifles, machine guns, land mines, and other weapons that can be carried by one or two people. Though it’s difficult to calculate with precision how many small arms there are in the world today, the United Nations estimates the number to be at least 500 million.

The proliferation of small arms has been a concern in the international community since the late 1980s. From July 9-20, the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects will seek to develop more concrete, enforceable, preventive strategies to try to staunch the flow of black-market small arms across the globe.


Kalashnikov Culture
Martin Regg Cohn, of The Toronto Star (liberal), visits a weapons market in Pakistan. Read Story

Hope for Gun Control Rests on Conference
Adele Kirsten, writing for Johannesburg's Business Day, reports on the upcoming United Nations Conference. Read Article

Growing Up as Guerrillas
Children, equiped with light weapons, are on the front lines of Colombia's bloody civil war. Jan McGirk reports for London's The Independent (centrist). Read Story

Big Weapons/Small Arms
In a special audio report from WPR partner Common Ground, Hélène Papper speaks with Randy Rydell—a senior official in the UN Department of Disarmament Affairs—and Ismail Khairat—Egyptian representative to the upcoming conference—about the small-arms scourge.
Read the transcript/Listen to the Program...
Sierra Leone: A Small-Arms Depot
World Press Review correspondent Foday B. Fofanah reports on the lethal consequences of small arms in Sierra Leone. Read Story

For Patriotism and Profit
In an interview with Robert Fisk, of London's The Independent (centrist), Mikhail Kalashnikov reflects on the legacy of his invention. Read Story

East-Bloc Connections Fuel War
Oszkar Fuzes, writing for the Budapest daily Népszabadság (left of center), untangles the international web connecting the Odessa mafia, various governments, and the combatants in the Balkans. Read Story

Gun Smuggling in the Niger Delta
Apart from its acknowledged role in the oil industry, the port town of Warri in Southern Nigeria also plays a vital unacknowledged function: It is the hub of the gun trade in the Niger Delta. In a Worldpress.org online exclusive, Nigeria correspondent Babafemi Ojudu investigates. Full Story

July 2001 Features:
Germany Struggles with Stagnation: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Europe’s powerhouse is now faced with the formidable prospect of overhauling its social and economic system to regain a competitive global foothold. Read Story



The Lessons of NAFTA: How Mexico Has Fared
The recent summit in Quebec City to discuss the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) leads Marcela Valenta to look at the effects the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has had on Mexico. Her findings should make the leaders of South American states nervous... Read Story


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