Indonesia, after the Tsunami of December 2004. Credit: Jim Holmes/Oxfam
Governments need to take responsibility for protecting civilians during crisis

Conflicts and Disasters

Why do we campaign on conflict and natural disasters?

For developing countries, conflict and disasters are central to why they remain trapped in poverty. Millions of innocent lives are threatened or turned upside down by conflicts and disasters every year.

People are often directly affected by horrific violence or can be forced into joining armed groups. They lose their homes and livelihoods in disasters and this is made worse because of poverty.

  • The number of people forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution worldwide stood at 42 million at the end of last year.
  • Natural disasters have more than doubled since the 1980s.

We have the power to change this. We can influence our governments, to show solidarity with people in conflict and disasters, show them the world does not forget them but takes on the responsibility to help so that their situation will improve.

Oxfam aims to reduce the number of people who die, fall sick or suffer deprivation as a result of conflict or natural disaster. We also aim to reduce the occurrence of conflict in the first place and reduce the number of people suffering, forced to leave their homes or become victims of violence as a result of conflict.

What is Oxfam asking for?

  • We need to make governments take responsibility for protecting and assisting civilians during crisis.
  • Governments need to uphold international obligations such as the Universal Declaration  of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions.
  • Governments also have to agree on a full and comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to stop the uncontrolled and global flow of arms that affects thousands every year.

Campaign successes so far

To protect people against conflict, the Control Arms Campaign has encouraged civil society to come together to press for an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which aims to put global, legally-binding controls on the arms trade. The achievement has been great. Campaigners have rallied and the UN is now working – albeit slowly – towards an ATT.

To reduce the impact of disasters, Oxfam is protecting vulnerable people by lobbying for rich countries to pay money for "adaptation" to protect people's livelihoods, help with disaster prediction and build defenses, and cope with climate change.

Take action

Your story can help bring about a bulletproof arms trade treaty that will help save lives. Visit the Shooting Poverty site to share your story to help show Governments that the irresponsible arms trade affects us all. Or share your story via twitter with the #shootingpoverty hashtag.

The Million Faces petition is still going strong, with supporters adding their faces every week. Add your face at and send a message to world leaders that we need an effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) now.

Read more

Oxfam's Conflict & Disasters Blog

Emergencies we're responding to right now

How Oxfam responds to emergencies and disasters

Control Arms Campaign