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Amnesty International, IANSA, Oxfam International

Guns or Growth?

Assessing the impact of arms sales on sustainable development

> Control Arms Campaign, June 2004, PDF, 100pp. (...)

Excessive or inappropriate arms purchases are a drain on social and economic resources which developing countries cannot afford. The countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East hold 51 per cent of the world’s heavy weapons. It is shocking how few governments make a serious attempt to consider the impact on development of their arms exports. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed in September 2000 by all 189 UN member states will not be achieved if resources are diverted from this vital task by inappropriate arms transfers. The assessment methodology must recognise that the potential consequences of an arms transfer are not always clear-cut, and weigh these consequences alongside the legitimate security needs of the country and respect for international human rights standards in the governance of its people. The costs of meeting these needs, and the way in which they are met, have to be viewed in relation to the development situation of the country: are the benefits of the transfer in meeting legitimate security needs greater than their cost in terms of the impact on the development of the country? Even if the legitimate security needs of a state do take precedence, is the importing government likely to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law?


date of on-line publication : 9 May 2006

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