‘MUCH WORK AHEAD’ IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST ILLEGAL SMALL ARMS SAYS SG.
UN Photo/Ky Chung
“Illicit small arms remain the weapons of choice for those who seek to challenge legitimate State power, to spread fear and insecurity, or to pursue criminal goals.” Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon reminder diplomats at the opening of the Second Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
In the statement delivered by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Ban Ki Moon looked back upon the progress that has been made by the Small arms and light weapons ‘Programme of Action’ since its establishment in 2001. “National legislation has improved in a number of countries,” the statement said. “Procedures and national commissions have been established. Some governments have improved the security of their depots, preventing the diversion of weapons and ammunition which is a constant problem.”
However, Ban also pointed out that “There is much work ahead.” He said many states still lack the capacity to exercise control over the small arms and light weapons, and the way they are trafficked across borders.
The Programme of Action seeks to improve regional and international cooperation on the issue of the trade and use of small arms. The consensus between the countries included measure to standardize manufacture license, make legally produced and traded arms easily recognizable, and to develop a comprehensive recording system to keep track of the weapons.
The Secretary-General urged the diplomats to redouble their efforts to come to an agreement on an Arms Trade Treaty as soon as possible. According to Ban, such a treaty is long overdue. “The full implementation of the Programme of Action is both an urgent priority and a long-term project that will demand perseverance and resolve.”
“Our collective responsibility is clear: to prevent the flow of illegal small arms into conflict and post-conflict areas and the hands of warlords, traffickers and criminals.” Ban’s statement said.“There are no quick solutions – it will take a sustained process that requires the commitment of all.”
The Second Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weaponswill be held at the United Nations Headquarters until September 7th.