First-hand experience of the destructive power of guns - Refugee Council
April 26, 2006

First-hand experience of the destructive power of guns

Among the Refugee Council staff who added their faces to Oxfam’s “Million Faces Petition”, were two individuals who had first-hand experience on how the illegal arms trade can blight lives.

Hussain Mohammed and Fabrizio Macor were among the many staff and volunteers at the Refugee Council Yorkshire and Humberside Office in Leeds who added their
faces to Oxfam’s petition, which aims to collect one million faces of people around the world who support the Control Arms Campaign.

Hussain Mohammed came to the UK from Somalia in 2000. He now works for the Refugee Council as a volunteer co ordinator and project worker. Hussain says, “From the age of 6 I saw people looting and killing each other on a daily basis. In Somalia everybody has someone in their immediate family who has been killed by a gun.”

Fabrizio, a project worker at the Refugee Council from Venezuela says, ” In Venezuela guns are everywhere, especially in Caracas, the capital. It is not difficult for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Many times they steal the guns from the legal owners. The result is that everybody in Venezuela has a close friend or family who have been affected by guns.

My father in law was kidnapped by armed men, who demanded a ransom for his release. I myself was nearly kidnapped, but one of the kidnappers recognised me from my days as a schoolteacher so they let me go. When I was a child, two children from my school were playing with their father’s gun at home. They thought it was empty and one of them killed the other.

We have a saying in Venezuela, ‘balas perdidas’ which means the lost bullets. It refers to all the bullets which kill people when they are aiming at someone else or even just shooting into the air.”

Fabrizio will be contributing an audio testimony for a major exhibition opening at The Royal Armouries in Leeds this May.

Oxfam’s “Million Faces Petition” calls on governments to sign up to a global treaty introducing tough new controls aimed at ending the illegal trade in arms, and will be handed to the UN in New York in June 2006. Staff and volunteers at the Refugee Council Yorkshire and Humberside Office in Leeds and the London office took part in the petition.

Further information:

Read our press release: Refugee Council supporters ‘face-up’ to fight against small arms trade

See also: Oxfam’s “Million Faces Petition” website