73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
First Committee - Thematic Debate on Conventional Weapons (Cluster 9)
Statement by Mr. Satya Rodrigo
Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
29 October 2018
The widespread use of conventional weapons continues to incur immense loss of lives and other egregious impacts across the globe. The illicit trade and unregulated use of these weapons, especially in the hands of non-state actors, pose a serious threat to global security and imperil the lives of populations the world-over.
Sri Lanka is thus deeply committed to combating the illicit trade and unregulated spread of these weapons. Sri Lanka regards the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) as an important legal instrument that contributes towards the protection of both civilians and combatants from excessively injurious and indiscriminate effects of conventional weapons, while taking into consideration the legitimate security concerns of States.
Sri Lanka remains committed to the prevention, curbing and eradication of the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. These flows of trade are often a factor behind the forced displacement of civilians and massive human rights violations. As a signatory to the UN Programme of Action to Combat the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects, Sri Lanka established the National Commission against the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms. We must work to create conditions for addressing all relevant dimensions of the problem of illicit small arms.
It is well established that Cluster Munitions pose severe humanitarian threats, and contains severe social and developmental consequences. The method of deployment and nature of these explosives means that they are indiscriminate, unable to distinguish between military targets and civilians. This is in clear violation of the cardinal principles of International Humanitarian Law. In addition, the grave danger they pose is enduring, with many turning into de-facto landmines, able to kill and maim indiscriminately long after conflict has ended.
Sri Lanka is unequivocally committed to the cause of ending the use and prevalence of these destructive, indiscriminate and inhumane weapons. In this regard, we affirm the importance of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which Sri Lanka acceded to in March of this year. Having already acceded to the Ottawa Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines, we look forward to demonstrating similar commitment and action in the vision of the eradication of Cluster Munitions.
Sri Lanka assumed the Presidency of the 9th Meeting of States Parties to the Cluster Munitions Convention last month and in keeping with past practice, is taking the lead in tabling the resolution titled ‘Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions’, this year, in our capacity as President. We are pleased that the number of co-sponsors of the resolution, this year has increased, with 35 co-sponsors, as of today. Universalization of this Convention is important in the vision of achieving a world free of Cluster Munitions in the long term.
Sri Lanka reaffirms its commitment to combating the issue of Conventional weapons, and continues to pledge its full support and commitment to the multilateral legal framework in this regard. We reiterate the necessity of concerted, collective action towards the curbing of the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons; and the eradication of cluster munitions. My delegation looks forward to meaningful and constructive engagement on these issues at this thematic debate.