Tasmi Imlak
Aug 17, 2018 · 4 min read

IM Swedish Development Partner was founded in 1938 as a counter to Nazism and later evolved into a large member-based organization that advocates for justice globally [1]. In order to target the illicit proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons, IM developed Humanium metal. This metal is created by melting down recycled metal gathered through gun destruction programs [2]. This project was established to address sustainable development goal 16, “peace, justice, and strong institutions.” This goal aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies and ensure justice for all [3]. The creation of Humanium metal helps to improve the quality of life for those living in regions highly affected by violence. Producing Humanium metal increases the socio-economic condition of the area by providing them with a metal that can be used commercially. Humanium metal ensures an increase of political security by diminishing illicit small arms and light weapons before they are spread and used for further violence [4].

Humanium production programs have been initiated in El Salvador and Guatemala and are being negotiated to begin in Honduras and Colombia very soon. The process of creating Humanium begins with collecting illegal weapons that the police usually handover. After collection, these weapons are melted down into a brick shape. This metal is then available to brands to be used as a commercial commodity in their products or artwork. The funds that are collected as a result of selling Humanium to brands, artists, and designers then go back to communities affected by gun violence as well as survivors and the families of victims. Triwa, Skultuna, A Day’s March, Le Cord and Yevo are amongst the many brands that are currently using Humanium to produce consumer products such as buttons, watches, bracelets, zippers, and mobile accessories. [5]

Bricks of Humanium metal. (http://humanium-metal.com/)

Similarly, Nonviolence Southeast Asia has their own initiative in which they destroy remains from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and bullets to produce coasters and napkin rings. This initiative is known as Forgedpeace and was a pilot project under Nonviolence Southeast Asia’s Building Peace by Teaching Peace program. Forgedpeace products are brassware from the Bangsamoro region, which is home to the indigenous tradition of brass making. The Bangsamoro region is a place in the Philippines where the Moro people are fighting for recognition by the Filipino government and are demanding their own semi-autonomous region. The Forgedpeace initiative aims to create a model for sustainable livelihood for the brass cottage industries during the disarmament or post-conflict phase in the communities in the Bangsamoro. In other words, this initiative is designed to take items relating to violence and converting them into everyday items that can further advance the brass industry within the region.

The products made are limited and one-of-a-kind, and the molds are destroyed in the process so no two items are made from the same mold. Each item is meticulously carved on the wax, then set on a thin layer of sand and a thicker layer of clay to create the mold. The clay molds are dried under the sun for two days. The dried clay molds are then baked for four hours. Simultaneously, the brass is melted in earthenware made from straw and clay. They were made from .45 caliber bullet casings and a 105mm howitzer shell donated by a conflict-affected community in the Bangsamoro and were then used to make brass coasters and napkin rings. Forgedpeace produced about 100 coasters and 6 sets of 4-pcs napkin rings.

Recycling weapons used for violence into everyday items is an innovative way to target the misuse and proliferation of weapons. IM hopes to spread their initiative to other Latin American countries while Nonviolence Southeast Asia hopes to gather materials from other Southeast Asian countries to further their Forgedpeace project. These two initiatives have made significant contributions to the global movement against violence and will hopefully continue to inspire more.

Learn more about the Humanium initiative at http://humanium-metal.com/ and the Forgedpeace project at https://www.facebook.com/nonviolenceasia/.

Mitzi Austero and Fred Lubang holding up one of their coasters.

References:

[1] “The Organisation.” IM, Individuell Människohjälp. January 30, 2017. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://manniskohjalp.se/en/about-us/organisation.

[2] “Humanium.” Humanium. Accessed July 11, 2018. http://humanium-metal.com/.

[3] “Sustainable Development Goals.” United Nations. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/.

[4] “Humanium.” Humanium. Accessed July 11, 2018. http://humanium-metal.com/.

[5] Ibid.

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