The United Nations Security Council today adopted a resolution urging stronger cooperation in stemming the “illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse” of small arms and light weapons, underlining the suffering they caused to civilians.
The Council adopted the resolution by a vote of nine in favour to none against, with six abstentions. The text recognizes the importance of preventing the illicit transfers and sales of weapons and ammunition, including small arms and light weapons, to armed groups and criminal networks that target civilians and civilian objects.
As such, it identifies a wide range of areas in which international cooperation could be bolstered, recognizing the importance of well-targeted and monitored sanctions regimes, appropriate UN peacekeeping mandates, effective reintegration and demobilization programmes and security sector reform in that regard.
In the resolution, the members of the Council advocate the establishment or strengthening, as appropriate, of subregional and regional mechanisms for cooperation, coordination and information sharing, particularly cross-border customs cooperation and information exchange networks “in order to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit transfer, the destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and small arms.”
The Security Council also considers it necessary that Member States put in place, if it does not exist, laws, rules and administrative procedures to allow them to effectively control the production of small arms and small arms within their jurisdiction and the export, import, transit or retransfer of such weapons.
It also urges Member States, relevant United Nations entities and intergovernmental organizations, regional and subregional organizations in a position to do so to cooperate and exchange information on persons suspected of trafficking.
Council members also strongly urge Member States that have not yet done so to take measures to regulate small arms brokering of small arms.
At a meeting of the Security Council on this issue last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons, and their ammunition, is the common factor in over 250 conflicts witnessed across the globe in the last decade, and pointed to 50,000 deaths along with displacement levels unseen since the Second World War as direct consequences of such violence.
“The recent entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) laid the foundations for a global framework of arms transfer controls, including for small arms and light weapons and ammunition,” said Ban Ki-moon. “A universal ATT, adequately implemented, is critical to removing the tools for armed conflict.”
In its resolution adopted today, the Security Council called on States to consider ratifying the Treaty or accede without delay.