First Committee of the 69th Session of the General Assembly- 8 October 2014
At the General Debate of the First Committee of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly on the 8 October 2014 the following States spoke on the topics of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT): Algeria, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cuba, Denmark, France, Libya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Spain and Switzerland.
Algeria, Cuba, Malaysia, and Senegal highlighted the importance of United Nations Programme of Action (UNPoA) and stated that international cooperation and assistance is essential for the proper implementation of the instrument. Malaysia reaffirmed its belief in the UNPoA mechanism as an important forum where confidence building measures on SALW can be consensually agreed upon. Algeria noted that the UNPoA, along with the International Tracing Instrument (ITI), are of utmost relevance and a full, balanced and effective implementation process is of extreme importance. Cuba, on its part, highlighted the need for more specific progress in the implementation of the UNPoA in order to see more effective results.
Algeria, Malaysia, Senegal, and Spain noted the success of the 5th Biennial Meeting of States (BMS5) on the UNPoA in June 2014 and welcomed the adoption by consensus of the outcome document. Spain also expressed that it is necessary to move forward with new measures that address the illicit arms trade from other perspectives to help achieve real results in the short term.
Brunei Darussalam stressed that information sharing and capacity building are important in order to curb the illicit trafficking of arms and believe that activities must be properly monitored not only by countries that procure these weapons but also by those manufacturing them.
Australia, Denmark, France, Libya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Spain and Switzerland discussed the recent 50th ratification of the ATT which sparked the countdown of the entry into force on the 24 December 2014. France and New Zealand noted that the adoption and ratification of the treaty illustrates the effective multilateralism and collective determination of the international community. Malaysia, Denmark and Senegal expressed the need for a fair, balanced and objective manner in implementing the ATT. Senegal further noted that it is essential that all States are protected under the treaty and not just the major exporting States while Denmark encouraged more countries to ratify the treaty, in addition to stating the importance of ratification by major arms suppliers. Libya specified that the right of States to acquire, manufacture, export, import, and retain conventional arms and their parts and components for self-defense and security purposes should not be affected, and that no double standards should occur when dealing with the trade of arms between countries.
Spain emphasized that the control of arms exports is now linked to human rights and international humanitarian law and New Zealand stated that implementation of the Treaty is key to reaping the human security and development outcomes. Further, New Zealand noted it has been working closely with countries of the Pacific region on the drafting of Model Legislation to assist with the translation of the Treaty’s commitments into domestic frameworks. It announced that its Model has now been completed and is available in hard copy and e-format.
Denmark did acknowledge that this treaty will not solve all issues of the illicit trade in arms and that progress would have to be made in ensuring that the unregulated trafficking of arms, particularly in third countries, is addressed at an international level. It emphasized the need to establish incentives, guidelines, norms, and standards that would induce arms supplying companies to do the right thing.
New Zealand further acknowledged the ongoing support of civil society during the processes of the ATT.
On the topic of the Secretariat of the ATT, Switzerland expressed its view that Geneva would fit the requirements as the location for the Secretariat.
This issues of illicit arms brokering and women participation in disarmament were also addressed during this session. On the topic of brokering, Republic of Korea stated that, along with Australia, it will table a resolution on “Preventing and Combating Illicit Brokering Activities” which is the sole international document that comprehensively addresses the threat posed by illicit brokering of weapons. On the issue of women and disarmament, Australia and Denmark expressed that the equal, full and effective participation of women in promoting disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control is vital. Denmark further emphasized the need to fully realize the importance of women’s political, social and economic empowerment.
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