Nepal: "Stop Violence through Weapons"

As part of the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence, the Nepal Working Group on Small Arms and other portable lethal Weapons (SAplW), an open-ended network of 40 organisations, held a workshop on gun violence in Nepal on 16 June 2011.

Under the slogan “Stop Violence through Weapons”, 50 political leaders, Constitutional Assembly (CA) members, government officials and media representatives assessed the incidence and effects of gun violence in Nepal. The opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Taijiro Kimura, Director of UNRCPD as well as Mr Surya Prasad Silwarl, Acting Secretary, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction Nepal.

The half-day event focused on an increased armed violence situation in Nepal. From November 2009 to May 2011, almost 1000 casualities related to small arms and other portable lethal Weapons have been reported by the Informal Sector Service Center (Insec). Out of these, 250 victims died.

The experience of two recent victims of gun violence shared by their relatives helped participants to better understand how real the negative impact on illicit small arms and other portable lethal weapons has become. Participants were then briefed on relevant national and international instruments dealing with the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, in particular the UN SALW Programme of Action and its reporting system, the Firearms Protocol, the Marking and Tracing Instrument, as well as on a possible future Arms Trade Treaty.

The outcome of the workshop supported the importance of acknowledging and addressing the increasing incidence of gun violence in Nepal. Main problems and drivers of violence identified include the easy availability of arms mainly caused by illicit trade, a legacy of a culture of violence as a consequence of the ten-year conflict, and high youth unemployment. The constructive working atmosphere and the vivid interaction among participants from different backgrounds, including CA members, reflected the perceived importance of the issue of gun violence in Nepal. Subsequent international coverage of the event– in Chinese, Indian, and Gulf media – indicated that the importance of this issue is not only national, but also regional.

The workshop was accompanied by two radio programmes on the same topic produced by Radio Chautari and Insec. Additionally, 10 000 stickers with the slogan “Hatiyar Bata Hune Hinsa Bandha Gar” or “Stop Violence through Weapons” were produced, and are currently being distributed through the channels of the Working Group.

The Nepal Working Group on Small Arms and other portable lethal Weapons (SAplW), established in 2010, is a Nepali network of representatives from offices of the Government of Nepal, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the United Nations (UN) including women's organisations working on the issue of small arms and other portable lethal weapons in Nepal. Its goal is to prevent and reduce the negative humanitarian and socioeconomic impact caused by small arms and other portable lethal weapons in Nepal.