Action on Armed Violence, Article 36, IKV Pax Christi and Oxford Research Group have issued the following advocacy sheet for delegates to the Review Conference of the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms, taking place from 27 August to 7 September in New York. The sheet urges states to emphasise the importance of casualty recording and victims’ rights in the context of addressing the impact of gun violence and combatting the illicit trade in small arms.


Recording casualties and recognising victims rights

Advocacy Sheet: 2012 Review Conference of the Programme of Action on Small Arms

States should use the opportunity provided by the 2012 Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) to recognise the urgent need to strengthen casualty recording and ensure the rights of victims of armed violence. States should:

  • include references to casualty recording and the rights of victims of armed violence in their interventions during the PoA RevCon;
  • support the inclusion of references to casualty recording and the rights of victims of armed violence in the outcome documents of the PoA RevCon, including the declaration and the implementation plan.

Understanding of the impact of SALW, and therefore an effective response to this impact, is best built on evidence of the patterns of casualties being caused. Recording, identification and acknowledgment of the casualties from armed violence is also the starting point for efforts to ensure the rights of victims, and is vital for meeting the needs of individuals and violence-affected communities and societies. Many states have recognised this need by committing under the Geneva Declaration and Oslo Commitments to measure and monitor armed violence.

Suggested language for outcome documents

Draft declaration of the PoA RevCon

Paragraph 3 of the draft declaration should be amended to reflect the developments in this arena since the last RevCon. In the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence 2011 outcome document states agreed to “recognise and ensure the rights of victims of armed violence.  Draft paragraph 3 should therefore be amended as follows: .…for furthering peace, securing lives, and improving livelihoods of people often living in deprivation and fear and ensuring the rights of victims of armed violence”.

Current paragraph 11 of the zero draft declaration should be reformulated to strengthen the content and provide better wording regarding gender and age in evidence-based research:

We underscore the importance of evidence-based research, casualty recording and measurement and monitoring of the impact and incidence of armed violence.

We underscore the pressing need to further integrate gender perspectives into relevant aspects of Programme of Action implementation and the importance of including gender and age aggregation in evidence-based research.

Draft implementation plan:

In the zero draft, section I on actions at the national level, a new point could be included between current points 3 and 4:

To work towards a better understanding of the problems of armed violence related to small arms and light weapons, including by ensuring the recognition of every casualty from armed violence and supporting action-oriented research to this effect.

In section IV on implementation and international cooperation and assistance, add the underlined sections below:

23. To encourage assistance to States in building capacity to identify, prioritize and communicate their assistance needs, including through fuller recording of casualties and stronger monitoring, measuring and analysis of armed violence; 

24. To make full use of national reports as a tool for communicating assistance needs and information on the resources and mechanisms available to address such needs, including victim assistance needs;

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