Weapons collection and destruction

Firearms remain lethal for many years after manufacture. In Iraq, guns dating from 1918 are still being used. When weapons remain in struggling post-conflict societies, they can cause more damage than they did during the conflict. In El Salvador, more people were shot dead in 10 years of peace than during the previous 12 years of war. And the overall number of these weapons is increasing - an estimated 10 guns are manufactured for every gun destroyed.

In post-conflict situations, weapons collection is an important aspect of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and related processes. The UN published International DDR Standards in 2006. Collection programs have also been successful in non-conflict situations, such as gun amnesties in Australia and Brazil.

Public gun destructions have been used to raise awareness, improve public confidence and symbolise an end to conflict. Examples have been 'flames of peace' in Cambodia and Mali, and gun sculptures in Macedonia and Mozambique.

Latest news

The National Commission on small arms in the DR Congo has established a regional office in the western city of Boma, with support from UNDP to bring together local representatives of the military, the national police and intelligence, border control officials and civil society organisations.

In Jamaica, about 4,000 guns and half a tonne of ammunition have been destroyed in two events organised by the government with support from the UN Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC).

The Government of South Sudan has announced the start of disarmament campaigns in volatile states following recent clashes between armed groups where hundreds of people are thought to have been killed.

Police in Taiwan have seized more than 2000 illegal guns during raids in the past year as part of efforts to prevent violence in preparation for the presidential and legislative elections, scheduled for 14 January this year.

The Brazilian Ministry of Justice has launched a plan to promote disarmament ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Brazil. It includes activities such as giving free tickets, footballs and shirts signed by footballers in return for guns handed in to authorities

Latest resources

Instituto Sou da Paz, an IANSA member in Brazil, has launched a practical guide to children's disarmament.

This report by the UN Secretary-General was submitted to the UN Security Council to bring them up to date on issues that were presented to them in the 2008 SG report on Small Arms

The annual report of the United States Conventional Weapons Destruction program, ‘To Walk the Earth in Safety’, has been released.

Article from the US State Department with a list of examples of explosions at ammunition depots. Written in 2010.

Ammunition stockpiles require careful management to prevent explosions. The report of a Group of Governemntal Experts was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2008, and subsequently technical guidlines are being prepared.

This report by the UN Secretary General came as response to a statement from the UN Security Council in 2007, requesting that they receive a report on small arms every two years