Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti
Permanent Representative of
Brazil to the United Nations
Central African region: Impact of illicit arms trafficking on peace and security
New York, 19 March 2010
I would like to congratulate Gabon for organizing this open debate. We also thank the Deputy Secretary-General for her remarks and presence among us today. We appreciate the contributions made by Mr. Antonio Maria Costa and by Mr. Luis Sylvain-Goma.
The issue before the Council today is timely and adequate. The consequences of arms trafficking and its threats to peace and security are troubling as clearly highlighted in the concept paper prepared for this debate. The international community should spare no effort in tackling such challenge. As mentioned by Mr. Costa, the instruments to curtail the illicit arms trade are available. What is needed is their universalization and effective implementation. Several important initiatives to address this problem have recently been adopted in different parts of Africa, including by national governments. In Central Africa, the illegal trade of arms is a source of particular concern, given that some conflicts are still in course and the severe impact on civilians, especially children and women.
However, the problem of arms trafficking is not exclusive to Central Africa. It concerns all of us. The review next June of the "United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects" (UNPoA) will provide an excellent opportunity to engage all Member States in strengthening this key UN Programme.
Brazil has strongly supported the Register of Conventional Arms since its creation by Resolution 46/36L, and has regularly provided information on the Register's seven categories. Brazil also supports a legally binding instrument that would allow States to identify and trace illicit small arms and light weapons in a timely and reliable manner. We have already incorporated the recommendations of the International Tracing Instrument, adopted in the context of the UNPoA, in our national legislation. We believe that the UNPoA should be expanded to also cover ammunition and explosives.
An Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) would also go a long way in regulating the trade and curbing the illicit traffic of arms. We are actively involved in the negotiations and urge all countries to fully engage in the preparations for the 2012 UN Conference on the ATT.
In our view, the ATT must include objective and non-discriminatory normative criteria, which should be taken into account when authorizing arms exports. These criteria should be based on a balance of responsibility between exporting, importing and transit countries. It should also provide an explicit prohibition on shipment of arms without the authorization of the competent organs of the government of the country of transit or destination.
In addition to the multilateral response to the problem of arms trafficking, regions affected should also strive to create stronger regulatory frameworks. We are pleased with the initiative of the Central African region to negotiate a legally binding instrument to monitor the trade of small arms and light weapons. Such an initiative is a step in the right direction that should be also supported by the international community as a whole. The Economic Community of Central African States can provide important support to this initiative and mobilize, in so doing, the experience of the African Union, ECOWAS and SADC.
The fight against the scourge of illicit trafficking of arms will also require addressing the demand side of the problem in all its dimensions. Changing the culture of violence, improving the humanitarian situation and promoting democracy and development in the continent are the surest way to successful and sustainable results.
Finally, let me express my delegation's support to the Presidential Statement to be adopted by the Council.