Guns or Growth

A new report from international aid agency Oxfam reveals how the governments that are the major proponents of the "war on terror" are flooding the world's poorest countries with weapons, despite promising to assess the effect of weapon sales on poverty.

 Ninety percent of all the weapons delivered to countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America come from the USA, the UK or one of the other three permanent members of the Security Council. These deliveries amounted to around US$15 billion (NZ$24 billion) worth of arms in 2002.

 "The hypocrisy of these governments is shameful" said Oxfam's Barry Coates, commenting on the release of the report. "This report clearly demonstrates the link between the arms trade and poverty. While these countries focus on their own security, they take no responsibility for the massive contribution that inappropriate arms sales make to poverty and insecurity."

Oxfam has joined with Amnesty International and IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms) to call for an International Arms Trade Treaty. "New Zealand is very active internationally on a number of arms issues, including nuclear non-proliferation and the banning of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Yet it is small arms that are the main threat to life and security in the developing world, including our Pacific neighbours. Championing the Arms Trade Treaty at the UN should be a priority for the New Zealand Government," said Coates.


  • The report and more details on the campaign can be found at
  • The Arms Trade Treaty would create legally binding arms controls and ensure that all governments control arms to the same basic international standards. Article 4c of the ATT states that, excepting legitimate security needs, an arms transfer must not go ahead if it is likely to adversely affect sustainable development.
Article type: 
Press release