The worldwide distribution of so-called „small arms ans light weapons“ at the beginning of the 21st century presents one of the greatest challenges to the international community of states and to civil society. „Small arms “ - pistols, rifles, machine guns, landmines and similar weapons which can be carried and deployed by one or two people - play a major role in the almost 50 civil and other wars which are fought all over the world and bring violence, death and suffering above all to the civil population. In addition, „small arms “ are often the tools of the perpetrators of human rights violations, which are still on the daily agenda of many states.
Throughout the world there are about 500 million small and light weapons in use. Ninety percent of the dead and wounded in wars and civil wars today are connected with the use of these weapons. They are produced primarily in the industrial countries and in general are exported legally to military and police units all over the world. In addition, small arms land by means of illegal arms trade and as war booty in the hands of guerilla units, militia and child soldiers.
Millions of small arms circulate uncontrolled from one battleground to the next battleground and between the parties of conflict. They contribute sustainably to the destabilisation of democratically elected governments and to the maintenance of fake democracies and dictatorships. In addition, small arms contribute to the violation of human rights, of humanitarian international law and to war crimes and hinder a sustainable development in many countries.
The Federal Republic of Germany belongs to the leading producers, exporters and license distributors of small arms: 7 to 10 million G3-rifles from the Oberndorf company Heckler & Koch, owned presently by Royal Ordnance in Great Britain, and its 15 foreign license holders are in use today. An unknown number of victims is being maimed or killed because of the deployment of these rapid-fire weapons alone.
At the present time the army is being equipped with the follow-up rifle G36. The German government has begun scrapping the 400 000 surplus G3 rifles. These old stocks must be eliminated completely and should not be exported under any circumstances. Initial arms exports of the new G36 and the release of a license to Spain are grounds for fear of a similar development as with the G3.
Legally and illegally distributed small arms in private possession, as well as hunting and sporting weapons, whose number in Germany alone is estimated at 10 million, present a further potential threat.
The members of DAKS will work hard against the causes and effects of the proliferation of small arms — each within the framework of his/her specific tasks and area of engagement. With ist activities DAKS should
DAKS will work actively to reach ist goals until the next small
arms conference of the United
Nations in 2006 and will make an accessment of its activities after the conference.