Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI), formerly known as India Working Group on Arms Control (IWGAC) was established on 10th September 2004 in New Delhi by a group of concerned citizens from diverse backgrounds from different parts of India who are committed to finding solutions to ending ongoing armed violence caused by small arms, light weapons and Improvised Electronic Device (SALWIEDS) proliferation that is going on within the region. CAFI is registered as an all India society and it was founded on the belief that lasting peace and humanitarian security can be achieved with the curbing the massive proliferation of SALWIEDS and the call for least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources as enshrined in article 26 of the United Nations Charter. And CAFI truly believes that women can lead to bring about that change. CAFI plans to fill the void that has been existing in Indian civil society regarding informed debates and discussion on conventional disarmament to bring about lasting peace in the country and region. CAFI believes that the fulfilment of Millenium Development Goals can be achieved if the issue of armed violence and poverty reduction is addressed.
The aim of the Foundation is to address issues relating to use of force , proliferation of small arms and light weapons as they effect civil society particularly women , children and the elderly as also to create movement in the sub-continent where defence and security issues are debated through informed debate particularly as they relate to policies pursued when security forces are called in aid to civil power consequent to civil disturbances bordering on, or leading to insurgencies. CAFI proposes new ideas for security thinking, and works to bring together security, disarmament and development so that all forms of security – national, regional, global – are recognised as true manifestations of human security. Putting people first in our debates on disarmament and security is the fundamental approach of CAFI.
A group and committed section of civil society people and organizations that agree to work together on issues of common concern relating to small arms proliferation, control of force including arms. The key goal of this group is to organize and deliver effective research, advocacy and assist campaigners to change the attitudes, policies or practices of the government and other decision makers.
Organise discussions seminars to present an open dialogue forum with government officials and other members of the civil society on issues relating to use of force and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
To cooperate with organisations and NGOs as also movements with similar aims and objectives without any financial obligations.
To convince the civil movements to give up the use of arms by taking up their causes with the authorities through creating awareness and creating public opinion pressure .
To work with media in ensuring that the state actors are not unnecessarily victimised by the vested interests in carrying out their legitimate duties to secure the life and property of the civil society in disturbed areas.
To encourage and support partnerships between community groups, government bodies, international/ regional organisations NGOs, as well as the private sector to develop and implement effective targeted small arms reduction and development measures.
To conduct impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation of integrated armed violence reduction and development initiatives in collaboration with communities, and to support the mainstreaming of lessons learned from local/ pilot initiatives within national, regional and international frameworks for development.
To ensure that all states fully incorporate into national law and regulations the UN PoA on Small Arms and Light Weapons, UN Code for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials; and organise the training of security forces in applying these principles when interacting with civilians.
To integrate a strict criterion in small arms licensing procedures that prohibits applicants with a criminal record and history of violence at home and/or in the community from owning a gun.
To set up appropriate nation-wide reporting and assistance mechanisms for victims of small arms violence.
To sensitise and raise public awareness about the detrimental impact of gun-related violent attitudes and behaviours to communities’ safety and development prospects.
To prioritise action-oriented research by 1) setting up appropriate national data collection and analysis mechanisms, 2) making use of this information to enhance programmes on armed violence reduction in national development strategies, and 3) ensuring timely dissemination of findings to the relevant regional and international bodies.
At the regional level to integrate small arms and violence reduction into regional and sub-regional organisations’ strategies, as well as into development frameworks such as SAARC, BIMSTEC etc.
To encourage regional and sub-regional organisations to find innovative ways to raise funds and foster local and national initiatives to prevent and reduce small arms violence.
To strengthen institutional capacities of regional economic and development communities with regards to planning and implementing small arms violence reduction initiatives.
To support regional, sub-regional, and international non-governmental organisations and civil society networks tackling the development impacts of small arms violence.
To adopt a comprehensive approach to small arms proliferation and violence that encompasses supply, use and demand factors in prevention and reduction strategies.
To adopt and promote a comprehensive approach built on gender and age sensitivity, so that the targeted measures take into account the different situations, needs and resources of men, women, boys and girls.
To inform all actors engaged in local small arms violence control and reduction initiatives about gender sensitivity. This could be notably achieved by the creation and wide distribution of a “resource package” or “toolkit” on gender, small arms and development.
To strengthen institutional cooperation between donors, international organisations and development agencies in order to integrate armed violence reduction and development strategies.
Operative Methods of CAFI
The members of CAFI will agree a terms of reference which clearly states what issues the group will work on together; how closely they will work i.e. as a coalition sharing common branding and messages or as a network sharing ideas but working more loosely together. Things such as how often the group will meet, how it will communicate and how people can join in will be worked upon and improved as experience is gained .
Membership Criteria for CAFI
The group will represent committed individuals, organizations and groups who represent different constituencies as the purpose of the group is to coordinate and make more effective advocacy that one engages in and is based on the principle that one is stronger together than apart. The group will comprise of various people working in the field of gender, health, environment, law, economy, science, media, films, theatre, performing arts, writers, academia, artists etc. The common principle that will bind all of us is the need to work together wherever we are, whatever profession we may be in, to out an end of continued armed violence that has led to thousands of loss of lives lost. CAFI especially encourages women and members of other disadvantaged communities to join us.