Monday 12 October

Ecuador on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Ghana, India, Japan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey addressed the First Committee on Monday afternoon regarding small arms and light weapons (SALW).

Ghana, Republic of Korea and Thailand noted that conventional weapons are the ‘real weapons of mass destruction’. Ghana stressed that SALW pose a major threat to international peace and security, while the Republic of Korea stated that over 900 million SALW are in circulation worldwide and are involved in almost all armed conflicts. The proliferation of SALW, according to Republic of Korea, has deep, cross-cutting ratifications for all three pillars of the UN, namely peace and security, development, and human rights. CELAC also made note that the illicit transfer of SALW deeply affects stability, exacerbates violence and insecurity, and undermines respect of international law, causing a large number of deaths each year and absorbing sizeable resources that could be used for development. Nigeria expressed its concern for the illicit transfer of SALW to non-state or unauthorized actors as it is a major issue in African and middle Eastern countries.

CELAC, Algeria, Ghana, Lebanon, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey reinforced their commitment to the Programme of Action (PoA) and relayed its importance in the fight against the illicit transfer and misuse of SALW. The full and effective implementation of the PoA was urged by Ghana. Saudi Arabia expressed its belief that the PoA is a successful starting point in dealing with the illicit proliferation of SALW and is a basis upon which it is possible for the international community to build. The importance of international cooperation and assistance in the tackle against the illicit spread of SALW was noted by CELAC. CELAC, Algeria and Ghana further noted the importance of the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) and urged for full implementation of the instrument. CELAC emphasized the need to develop a legally binding instrument to tackle the issues of marking and tracing of conventional weapons and illicit brokering of weapons.

Republic of Korea, Senegal and Spain welcomed the recent Security Council Resolution 2220 relating to SALW. Republic of Korea expressed that this new resolution paved the way for the enhanced role of the Security Council in tackling the serious challenge SALW creates to global security.

Lebanon and Thailand made comments regarding the links between SALW and gender. Thailand noted with concern the social and gender dimension issues of SALW, as women and children are disproportionally affected by such weapons. Lebanon further stated, when discussing Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, that gender issues should be broadly mainstreamed in all aspects of the work of First Committee. Lebanon further noted that the inclusion of a provision on gender-based violence in the ATT as an achievement and major advancement.

The majority of States spoke on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), emphasizing their support for the Treaty and the need for a full, effective and robust mechanism to ensure success. CELAC noted that the ATT should be implemented in a balanced, transparent and objective manner and that the sovereign rights of States to obtain SALW for their national defense should be upheld. Poland stressed that universalization of the treaty is important and achievable if the number of signatories for the treaty is increased and ratification improved. India noted that it continues to keep under review the ATT from the perspective of its defense, security and foreign policy interests and will be watching how the treaty is implemented especially in view of some of the gaps in the Treaty that India had pointed out during its negotiation and which have become only more pronounced since then.