Terror is nothing new for millions of people caught up in the world’s seemingly intractable conflicts. Rebels and governments alike have been terrifying civilians for years in too many civil conflicts. Oxfam and our partners already witness mass destruction: from Sudan to Colombia, Liberia to Indonesia, millions of people continue to be killed, raped, injured, or forced to flee their homes. For decades, these conflicts have caused much more death and destruction than has terrorism. Since 2001, there have been trends which may have made civilians even more vulnerable than before. Oxfam is calling for the UN Security Council and global leaders to galvanise the entire international community to take action more consistently, both to protect civilians and to ensure the impartial delivery of humanitarian aid on the basis of need, rather than political priority.
Every day, millions of men, women, and children are living in fear of armed violence. Every minute, one of them is killed. From the gangs of Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles, to the civil wars of Liberia and Indonesia, arms are out of control. The time to act is now: every government in the world has a responsibility to control arms – both their possession within its borders, to protect its own citizens, and their export across its borders, to ensure respect for international human rights and humanitarian law in the wider world. The world’s most powerful governments, who are also the world’s biggest arms suppliers, have the greatest responsibility to control the global trade. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council – France, Russia, China,the UK, and the USA - together account for 88 per cent of the world's conventional arms exports; and these exports contribute regularly to gross abuses of human rights.