UN adds watch made from illicit small arms to permanent disarmament exhibition

December 3rd, 2019

On 26 November, UNODA welcomed the addition of Humanium Metal to the United Nations Permanent Exhibition at Headquarters. Humanium Metal by IM transforms illicit firearms in regions affected by armed violence into non-lethal commodities for peace.

The illicit flow of small arms and light weapons undermines security and the rule of law and is often a key driver of forced displacement and human rights violations. Their wide circulation, misuse and illicit trade furthermore impede sustainable development, by aggravating poverty to inhibiting access to social services to diverting energy and resources away from efforts to improve human development.

Participants at the Humanium exhibition inauguration (photo – Paule Saviano)

In his Agenda for Disarmament, the Secretary-General has prioritized “disarmament that saves lives”, placing emphasis on the need for a reinvigorated approach to country-level small-arms control that is clearly linked to sustainable development.

Humanium Metal, an initiative by Swedish NGO IM Swedish Development Partner, is an example of such an approach. Humanium Metal is a supply chain that makes metal from destroyed, illicit firearms available for commercial production. The income generated with Humanium Metal is re-invested into communities affected by gun violence and by doing so aims to break the vicious cycle of violence and poverty, contributing directly to UN Sustainable Development Goals 16 and 17.

The Humanium Metal display – that includes a watch, an ingot and a bracelet – was inaugurated during a ceremony hosted by UNODA, the Permanent Missions of Sweden and El Salvador to the United Nations and IM Swedish Development Partner for Member States, non‑governmental organizations, United Nations staff, and youth representatives.

IM Sweden representatives, Jacqueline Duerre and Martin Nihigard (photo – Paule Saviano)

“It is my sincere hope that the Humanium Metal initiative will inspire millions of people – youth, consumers, businesses, authorities — to seek innovative sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, particularly armed conflicts and violence,” said Mary Soliman, Chief of the Regional Disarmament Information and Outreach Branch of UNODA on behalf of the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

Mary Soliman, Chief of the Regional Disarmament Information and Outreach Branch of UNODA (photo – Paule Saviano)

On the same day, UNODA and IM Swedish Development Partner hosted an informative meeting with youth advocates to raise awareness of how disarmament and arms control can help save lives and attain the Sustainable Development Goals, as part of its #Youth4Disarmament initiative.

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