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Alpers, Philip. 2015 ‘By Consensus, a Sprawling World Region Rejects Guns.’ The Pacific Region Lives Up to its Name with Disarming Success. Melbourne: The Conversation. 26 February

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By Consensus, a Sprawling World Region Rejects Guns

One sprawling region has largely avoided, and at times even reversed, the steady proliferation of illegal firearms and death by gunshot. Twelve out of 16 Pacific Islands Forum nations are patrolled by routinely unarmed police. Ten have no military. With little or no opposition, island communities of the south-west Pacific have both resolved in law and been actively encouraged to remain unarmed.

This is no mere accident. When the nine-year war of secession in Bougainville ended in 1997, as many as 12,000 to 15,000 people had died. Since then, Pacific governments have done their best to disarm the neighbourhood…

Pacific nations forged a largely unnoticed but, in retrospect, startling regional consensus, which now sets us apart from much of the world.

Instead of rushing in more guns to restore peace, in Melanesia we tried the opposite…

Although they remain the largest players in the local arms trade, New Zealand and Australia now contribute more to arms control in Oceania than to arms proliferation…

Oceania has quite unconsciously forged a new attitude, all on its own. For the time being at least, we've re-written a popular American slogan. Our regional bumper sticker now reads: "An unarmed society is a polite society."

ID: Q9215

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