According to recent estimates, direct and indirect violence claims more than 740,000 lives each year globally. It has been catastrophic to the socio-economic and political stability of any country. It not only injures or kills but is also responsible for triggering forced displacement, eroding social capital, poverty, destroying infrastructure and underdevelopment.
Pakistan remained victim of armed violence in the recent past and most recently it has acquired a shape of poisonous octopus threatening even the very foundation of this republic. The term armed violence was never novel to the Pakistani society. However, recently there has been exponential increase in the intensity of this phenomenon. Almost on daily basis Pakistan’s electronic media is flooded with depressing and moving stories of armed violence from all across Pakistan. Even the situation is so worse that at times victim and perpetrator both don’t know the cause of such inhuman acts. These incidents are not confined to specific geographic location or area in Pakistan. Reports suggest that no part of Pakistan can be considered safe and on daily basis her citizens are losing lives to this menace. Unfortunately Pakistan has one of the greatest per capita rates of gun ownership. It is believed that some twenty million small arms and light weapons are in civilian hands. Similarly the rate of private gun ownership in Pakistan is 11.6 fire arms per 100 people which are too high for a country which is politically divided and economically segregated. The above mention facts enunciate the gravity of situation in Pakistan where SALW are available in ample quantity within her four corners.
SPADO is an active member of the global Control Arms Coalition and International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA). From the platform of such networks the organization is contributing toward the establishment of an effective Arms Trade Treaty, national control arms regimes and the implementation of the UN program of action on small arms and light weapons.
Similarly the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development highlights the role that states and civil society must play in preventing and reducing violence associated with war, crime, and social unrest. The Geneva Declaration commits signatories to Support initiatives to measure the human, social and economic costs of armed violence; undertake assessments to understand and respond to risks and vulnerabilities; evaluate the effectiveness of armed violence prevention and reduction programs around the world; and to disseminate lessons and best practices. SPADO is actively supporting the declaration and encourage the government of Pakistan to sign the Geneva Declaration in its true spirit, which will prove as a harbinger of peace and prosperity in Pakistan.
In this regard SPADO has been continuously putting its efforts through multilevel interventions for disarmament by helping government and policy institutes as well as communities, civil societies and public institutes through its research studies, policy recommendations, advocacy and campaigning activities.
Antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons that injure and kill civilians in every corner of the globe, every day. They don’t recognize ceasefires and claim victims long after the end of conflicts. They instill fear in communities and are a lethal barrier to development.
The Mine Ban Treaty (1997) is the best framework for solving the problems still posed by antipersonnel mines all over the world. The mobilization of thousands of ordinary citizens, through the International Campaign To Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC) campaign network, has played a crucial part in the adoption of this international treaty and the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.
SPADO being the official contact point of the International Campaign To Ban Landmines (ICBL), laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC) is striving for the universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. At the same time the organization is promoting and creating awareness, providing risk education to the conflict affected communities and striving for the rehabilitation of landmine victims in Pakistan.
SPADO is aimed to eradicate cluster munitions, prevent further casualties from these weapons and put an end to the suffering they cause, through its awareness, advocacy and research initiatives.
The high prevalence rate and misuse of small arms and light weapons have badly affected the law and order situation and socio-economic conditions of local communities. The prevalence of small arms and light weapons has contributed into the militarization of the society, which includes the heavily armed policemen, patrolling military soldiers and private armed guards in public buildings, banks and institutions. It is also estimated that Pakistan has one of the greatest guns per capita in the world, which clearly indicates an alarming high possession of small arms by civilians.
SPADO being a peace and development organization along with advocacy and awareness activities is also actively involved in research work related to the issues of small arms and light weapons and arms disarmament. SPADO is an active member of the ‘International Action Network on Small Arms’ a global movement against gun violence. On national account SPADO is working to stop the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons and putting its efforts to make people safer by reducing demand for such weapons, helping policy makers to improve firearm regulation and to strengthen controls on arms transfers through research, advocacy and campaigning.
Over the past decade, the expanded use of unmanned armed vehicles has dramatically changed warfare, bringing new humanitarian and legal challenges. Now rapid advances in technology are resulting in efforts to develop fully autonomous weapons. These robotic weapons would be able to choose and fire on targets on their own, without any human intervention. SPADO expresses its concerns on ethical, legal, moral, policy and technical grounds with fully autonomous weapons.
Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield is an unacceptable application of technology. Human control of any combat robot is essential to ensuring both humanitarian protection and effective legal control. A comprehensive, pre-emptive prohibition on fully autonomous weapons is urgently needed. The Solution outlines how a ban could be achieved through an international treaty, as well as through national laws and other measures.
In recent years, the benefits and dangers of fully autonomous weapons have been hotly debated by a relatively small community of specialists, including military personnel, scientists, roboticists, ethicists, philosophers, and lawyers. They have evaluated autonomous weapons from a range of perspectives, including military utility, cost, policy, and the ethics of delegating life-and-death decisions to a machine.