Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Sri Lanka
Sri Lankaâ€™s Ambassador to the UN, Prasad Kariyawasam, will chair in June the first Review Conference for the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (UN PoA). The PoA is an agreement reached in 2001 amongst member states to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. It is estimated that nearly 5,000,000 small arms are circulating throughout the world. These small arms are used by individuals or groups fighting their private wars. Like most other nations Sri Lanka has not monitored successfully of the free flow of arms. Easy access to small arms has created a culture of impunity. It was also revealed that arming the politicians in Sri Lanka began prior to the 1989 elections, at the height of the JVP insurrection. It is estimated that 15,000 arms were distributed to politicians for their protection. It is now revealed that most of these weapons were never returned.