New York, 19 March 2010
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
at the UN Security Council Debate
on Central African region: impact of illicit arms trafficking
At the outset, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Gabonese presidency for convening this debate. I would also like to welcome Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Mr. Sergio de Queiroz Duarte and His Excellency Mr. Louis Sylvain-Goma.
My delegation associates itself with the statement to be made later on by the representative of the European Union. Bosnia and Herzegovina believes that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons poses a real and tangible threat to the security and humanitarian situation and the social and economic development of the Central African region. We are also deeply concerned about the impact that the illicit trade in small arms has on human rights, as small arms are being used by armed groups against civilian populations, in particular in terrible practices of child recruitment and gender-based violence. Furthermore, the illicit trade in small arms also represents one of the major obstacles to United Nations international troops who are seeking to establish or maintain peace and security. It can seriously undermine peacebuilding efforts, poverty reduction strategies and human security frameworks.
We therefore believe that particular attention by the Security Council is essential in order to end those serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and to provide an environment conducive to the effective implementation of the relevant United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates.
Bosnia and Herzegovina underlines the importance of the full implementation by the States of the region of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, which was adopted on 20 July 2001 by the United Nations Conference. Furthermore, we believe that the adoption of the Code of Conduct for the Defence and Security Forces in Central Africa will be another practical step in confidence-building in the region. We therefore encourage Member States to act in that direction.
We would also like to call on Member States to make further efforts to elaborate a binding legal instrument and to develop modalities for its implementation, in order to ensure the monitoring of small arms and light weapons in the subregion.
Improving national transparency and oversight over light weapons through further harmonization and tightening of national legal frameworks regulating small arms and light weapons, including domestic laws on gun purchasing and ownership, require Governments to increase cooperation and information sharing.
Adequate customs policies and strengthening national border controls to reduce illegal activities and to combat cross-border trafficking in small arms and light weapons is another area where regional cooperation is needed. The recent finalization and installation, in the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, of software for regulating small arms and light weapons brokering in Central Africa is a good example of a concrete contribution to advancing regional networking and the monitoring of small arms flows.
Bosnia and Herzegovina would also like to stress the importance of cooperation among Governments of the Central African region aimed at the establishment of a register within the Economic Community of Central African States. Such a regional inventory could also supplement global efforts to expand the United Nations Register on Conventional Arms to include all light weapons and small arms transfers.
In that context, we would like to stress the importance of providing the necessary financial and technical assistance for the implementation of all activities related to the issue of fighting illicit arms trafficking in the Central African region. Creating a favourable security climate is one of the crucial prerequisites for the countries of the region to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and ensure stability, self-sustainability and social and economic development.
The preliminary draft of the legal instrument presented at the twenty-ninth Ministerial Meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, held in N’djamena, is a significant step. Once adopted, that legal instrument for the control of small arms and light weapons, ammunition and any equipment that could be used in their manufacture in Central Africa will address the crucial issues to which I have referred and provide a proper regional framework for tracking and securing the trade in small arms and light weapons in the region.
We very much hope that upcoming Ministerial Meeting of the Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, to be held in Kinshasa from 26 to 30 April, will result in concrete actions aimed at strengthening cooperation at the regional and international levels, thereby contributing to arms control and disarmament in Central Africa and to the achievement of lasting peace and stability in that region.