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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
H.E. Lauro L. Baja, Jr.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Security Council Chamber, 17February 2005
I wish to thank you for organizing this important debate
on small arms. Indeed, the prevention of the proliferation of these
weapons is a key task of the Security Council in the fulfillment of
its mandate of maintaining international peace and security. We are
also grateful to Undersecretary-General Nobuyasu Abe for his comprehensive
briefing and introduction of the Secretary General’s report on
the topic and to Japanese former foreign minister Yoriko Kawaguchi for
his important presence and statement on this debate.
It should be interesting to know the statistics last year.
In large parts of the world, small arms and light weapons are weapons of mass destructions. The availability of small arms and light weapons stokes conflicts, causes a high number of casualties, complicates peacekeeping and hampers pacific settlement of disputes. In 1994, the General Assembly adopted for the first time, a resolution recognizing the threat posed by small arms to national and regional security and its contribution to the destabilization of States. Since then, no regulatory regime to control the proliferation of illicit small arm has yet emerged.
The problem of illicit trade of small arms and light weapons is a global one, requiring a comprehensive and coordinated response at national, sub-regional and international levels. The problem goes beyond the military and disarmament domains; it has humanitarian as well as socio-economic consequences.
There is therefore need for international cooperation,
and for capacity-building and financial assistance to developing countries
in addressing the problem. Weapons-exporting countries need to assume
a greater degree of responsibility in their operations relative to small
arms and light weapons.
All efforts in the negotiations on the draft international instrument on marking and tracing should therefore be exerted to conclude by June 2005. Whether or not the instrument should be legally binding should not be a wedge issue anymore taking into account the fact that the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons is already criminalized in many jurisdictions. In this context, the Philippines will endorse recommendation no. 15 of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Threats which states that “Member States should expedite and conclude negotiations on legally binding agreements on the marking and tracing, as well as the brokering and transfer, of small arms and light weapons.”
It is a cause for regret that negotiation on a draft international instrument on brokering has been pushed back to the second half of 2006.
The Philippines pointed out last year that the Council and the General Assembly are both seized with the issue of small arms. In this regard, my delegation reiterates its proposal for interaction between the Council and the General Assembly, to facilitate complementary actions on the problem of the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.
Our leaders in their 2000 summit, resolved “to encourage regular consultations and coordination among the principal organs of the United Nations in pursuit of their functions” in order to strengthen the United Nations. The General Assembly, in its resolution 58/126, likewise made the same call. My delegation, therefore, strongly supports the convening this year of the first consultation and coordination between the Council and the General Assembly, to set into motion the much needed interaction of the two most concerned UN organs on the subject of illicit trade in small arms
In conclusion, Mr. President, and echoing what former foreign minister Kawaguchi said that proliferation of small arms and light weapons is a multi-disciplinary issue, we should continue to engage the assistance and cooperation of civil society who look at this issue from the prism of humanitarian consideration. They can provide impetus for governments to move forward and avoid unnecessary delay. My delegation’s strong support for a role given to civil society upholds the provision of the UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, which “encourage non-governmental organizations and civil society to engage, as appropriate, in all aspects of international, subregional and national efforts to implement the present Programme of Action.”
We are grateful to the Japanese Mission for initiating and negotiating the PRST which we will adopt at the end of this meeting.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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