Disarmament: A Basic Guide

Third Edition

image of Disarmament: A Basic Guide

International peace and security - and therefore disarmament - stand at the core of the UN mandate. This publication is designed to inform, educate and generate public understanding of the importance of multilateral action, and to rally support for it, in the field of arms limitation and disarmament. Intended primarily for the general reader, this basic guide may also be useful for the disarmament educator or trainer. It is published by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in collaboration with the NGO (non-governmental organizations) Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security pursuant to the purposes of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme.

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Small arms and light weapons

Most present-day conflicts are fought mainly with small arms. They are broadly used in inter-State conflict and they are the weapons of choice in civil wars and for terrorism, organized crime and gang warfare. Small arms are cheap, light, and easy to handle, transport and conceal. A build-up of small arms alone does not create conflict, but their excessive accumulation and wide availability often aggravate political tension, often leading to more lethal and longer lasting violence. People’s sense of insecurity grows, which can in turn lead to a greater demand for weapons.

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