"Small arms"
Statement by Ambassador Henrique Valle
Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN
 Security Council, New York, 17 February 2005


Mr. President,

The delegation of Brazil wishes to express its appreciation to you for the initiative of debating the issue of small arms. We also thank the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs for presenting the Secretary General's report on ways and means in which the Security Council can contribute in dealing with the question of illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, in interaction with the General Assembly.

 The issue of the uncontrolled traffic of this kind of weapon became a great concern for the international community, due to the tragic consequences of arms availability in terms of making local conflicts more lethal and generating a sense of insecurity in civil societies.

 The subject of small arms, whether in the context of disarmament, national security, public security or from a humanitarian perspective, must be permanently discussed in all relevant fora. The solution to this problem requires the commitment of all States and the assistance of civil society, besides the necessary input of international regional and sub-regional organisms.

 The Secretary General's report recognizes some progress made on his recommendations within the competence of the General Assembly, since our last debate on small arms, one year ago. The Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade and Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects is the reference that regulates the United Nation's activities in this field. The delegation of Brazil expects that the considerations on its implementation next July contribute to the good results of the Review Conference of the Program of Action in 2006. For this reason, the step taken by the General Assembly towards constituting an Open-Ended Working Group to negotiate an international instrument to enable States to identify and trace, in a timely and reliable manner, illicit small arms and light weapons is crucial. That Working Group has put great efforts in its endeavor. We expect that the document to be produced by its third session will be legally binding and responsive to the urgent necessity of interrupting the illegal flow of such weapons. Our next step should be to consider how to improve the international cooperation in preventing, combating and eradicating illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons.

 The delegation of Brazil is very pleased with the reaction of member States to the recommendation in favor of a greater participation in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, and in the United Nations standardized instrument for reporting military expenditures. This enhanced participation continues to be required, as it generates transparency and a stronger confidence among countries.

 At the regional and sub-regional levels, as well, there have been important developments. Brazil strongly supports all the efforts deployed by the Organization of the American States at curbing the illicit traffic of small arms and light weapons such as those related to the implementation of the "Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials" and of the model regulations of the "Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission".

 Unfortunately, despite national efforts there are still loopholes in the regime for the legal transfer of arms that allow for the diversion of arms to the illegal market. Brazil stands as an example of such efforts, having adapted its legislation to current necessities. Last year, President Lula da Silva sanctioned the innovative Disarmament Statute, which restricts the bearing, possession and commerce of arms, in addition to criminalizing international arms trafficking. Brazil has also adopted a national arms system as a measure of preventive control. Aside from such strengthening of legislative measures, we also regularly exchange information with our neighbors and have established border procedures. With its partners in MERCOSUL, Brazil develops a network of activities that progressively strengthen the cooperation among its members. Notwithstanding all these national, sub-regional and regional initiatives, we still have not solved the problem.

 With reference to the Secretary-General's recommendations that fall into the Security Council's purview, our delegation would like to highlight the need of a comprehensive approach to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants. We fully support the Secretary-General's concern with the social and economic aspects in post-conflict situations. It is crucial for the accomplishment of a peacekeeping operation that it includes provisions for technical, financial and logistical support for the reintegration phase.

 Mr. President,

Much more remains to be done. May this broad exchange of opinions constitute further evidence that all the United Nations members renew their commitment to work together and contribute to our common efforts toward eradicating the illegal flow of small arms.

 Finally, we join members in thanking the delegation of Japan, through H.E. Ms. Kawaguchi, for the preparation and presentation of the draft.

 Presidential Statement.