UNITED NATIONS: One of every 1,000 civilian-owned guns in the world is lost or stolen and can wind up in the hands of militants in nations like Iraq and Afghanistan, a Swiss institute says in a survey released on Monday.

Most of the lost guns flow to nations that “rarely engage in some of the most basic verification procedures,” said Jurg Streuli, a Swiss diplomat and representative to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Among the other countries affected by this diversion of small arms are Colombia, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Liberia.

As many as 650,000 weapons owned by civilians have gone missing, says the annual Small Arms Survey compiled by researchers at the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,

They flow from manufacturers, wholesalers, gun shops and homes to local thugs, organized crime, armed groups, insurgents, terror organisations and nations under an arms embargo, the survey says.

Most of the weapons are sold or stolen on the black market from military and government stocks.

The annual survey said last year that civilians worldwide now have access to 650 million small arms — from handguns to semiautomatic rifles — in an arsenal that far outstrips what is held by police and militaries. — AP

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