The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs opened a workshop today in Rio de Janeiro to help governments trace illicit small arms and light weapons.
An initiative to control the trade of small arms and light weapons in Central Africa and a planned code of conduct for the region’s armed and security forces are expected to top the agenda at a United Nations-sponsored security meeting taking place in Yaoundé, Cameroon, this week.
A United Nations group of experts dealing with illicit arms brokering has produced a series of recommendations for combating the trade through legislation.
While noting that a United Nations conference that closed Friday put an international spotlight on the illicit trade in small arms that fuel conflict, Secretary General Kofi Annan today expressed disappointment that delegates were unable to agree on a common declaration that would guide further action.
The United Nations conference on progress in stemming the illicit trade in small arms that fuel conflict and crime ended today without adopting a common position paper – as differences between delegations on follow-up actions remained unresolved – but it succeeded in drawing world attention to the issue, its chairman said.
Describing the world as being “awash with small arms,” United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that every year an estimated $1 billion worth of these weapons are traded illicitly worldwide, exacerbating conflict, sparking refugee flows, undermining the rule of law and spawning a “culture of violence and impunity.”
The Million Faces Petition, which organizers billed as the world’s largest appeal for tougher global controls on the arms trade, was presented to Secretary-General Kofi Annan today in New York by a consortium of international groups as well as the one millionth petitioner – a survivor of gun violence from Kenya.