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Title: Back to the sources : international small arms transfers
Authors: Khakee, Anna
Keywords: Firearms industry and trade
Firearms -- Law and legislation
Human rights advocacy
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Small Arms Survey
Citation: Khakee, A. Back to the sources : international small arms transfers - Small arms survey : rights at risk. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2004. 99-139.
Abstract: In late 2003, human rights organizations brought a case against the British government’s arms sales (including small arms sales) to Indonesia. They argued that these exports violated the UK export criteria, as there was a ‘patent’ risk that the weapons would be used for internal repression (Norton-Taylor and Agionby, 2003). This incident illustrates that much controversy still surrounds the issue of arms sales to countries where serious human rights violations take place, something that this chapter also shows. Previous editions of the Small Arms Survey tried to identify main exporters and importers of small arms,1 to examine the level of transparency in the small arms trade,2 and to explore the links between legal and illicit arms transfers. This chapter continues to follow developments in the small arms and light weapons trade and state transparency. However, it does so in a slightly different way than in previous years. For the first time, it contains extensive listings of both main importers and exporters, with their most important trading partners and principal categories of weapons traded. The section on main exporters also systematically compares data from different sources (customs data and national reports on exports of military goods). The comparison shows that we are still far from a clear and coherent picture of the authorized trade in small arms. This is an important reason for introducing a second novelty: the Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer. The barometer assesses the transparency of the main exporting states on a 20-point scale. It will be a recurrent feature of the Small Arms Survey. In subsequent editions, it should thus be possible to assess to what extent individual states are becoming more or less transparent over time, and hence whether we are moving towards a clearer picture of the authorized trade. As noted in previous editions of the Small Arms Survey, a good understanding of the legal (or authorized) trade is crucial for understanding the illicit market.
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