Get some control

Amartya Sen, International Herald Tribune, June 26:

Informed by the harrowing lessons of World War II, the United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco on June 26, 1945. Exactly 61 years later, the UN review conference on small arms will open on Monday in New York. This will be the first major conference on the UN program of action on the global menace of small and light weapons of combat.

In recent years, discussions on terror and safety have tended to concentrate on weapons of mass destruction. And yet there are other problems that are already causing havoc, which also demand urgent attention. It is important to appreciate why an effective system of the control of trade in small arms is so badly needed right now.

First, the use of small arms is constantly fed and heavily promoted in the world by the sellers, for there is much profit to be made there. While it is true that arms trading needs willing buyers in addition to eager sellers, the pushing of arms is no less a phenomenon today than the pushing of drugs.… 

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