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First Committee – Disarmament

The United Nations First Committee is a subcommittee of the UN General Assembly and deals with disarmament and international security. The First Committee comprises all 192 members of the UN and meets each autumn.

The first Committee deals with the disarmament which includes unconventional or weapons of mass destruction that is nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and it also deals with conventional weapons which includes missiles , guns of different calibers and explosives of all types, in the due course of promoting International peace and security. Terrorism has of late emerged as a military and political doctrine using both conventional and non conventional military tactics to advance undefined political, ideological, religious and fanatical objectives.

The harrowing possibility of terrorists employing concealed unconventional weapons is increasing. This is the main current pre-occupation of the United Nations while other traditional disarmament concerns are being dealt with as routine issues with varying regional and national attentions.

In this particular aspects , Tanzania’s concerns have rightly been focused on terrorism after the 1998 bomb attack in Dar-es- Salaam and its negative aftermath on the tourist industry . In 2002, the Ant -Terrorist Law was passed in Tanzania though it has not been tested in the court of law and on the line the very law has been criticized by the Amnesty International for having given the government sweeping powers which if used may fringe the humanitarian rights and law.

At the International forum, Tanzania is required to report regularly on the implementation of the Security Council anti–terrorism resolutions which includes among others 1267 (1999) on Alqaeda and Taliban, 1373 (2001) on counter- terrorism, 1535 (2004) formation of Executive Directorate of Counter-terrorism, 1566 (2004) on Threat to International Peace and Security and 1540 (2004) on weapons of mass destruction and 1624 (2005), and 1625 (2005) on Threats to International Peace and Security (Security Council Summit). Up and until the end of 2004, Tanzania was in the bracket of late submitters, but as of now Tanzania has kept its word and does not fall in that category.

Tanzania is in the forefront in advocating actions against the illegal proliferation of small arms and light weapons in all its aspects as a threat to national peace and security. The problem is perhaps serious in neighbouring countries and likely to have adverse consequences to Tanzania as a host to myriads of refugees. Tanzania must be active in negotiating International instruments on marking and tracing of small arms and light weapons and putting into operation United Nations Programme of Action on Combat, and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. Tanzania has been commended for the timely and exemplary implementation of the Ottawa Convention on Ant –Personnel Treaty and of late has ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) thus bringing the total number of ratification to 173 which enabled the treaty to enter into force.

Tanzania has been chosen as one of the countries for the installation of the global system for the detection of underground nuclear explosion with monitoring capability which extends across the Indian Ocean. The installation can be beneficial to Tanzania in many ways; among others providing employment, acquisition of scientific expertise and information related to early detection of disasters like tsunamis. The National Scientific Research Council liaises with the Vienna based offices. It calls for encouragement for the National Scientific Research Council to link up with other relevant institutions all over the country and share relevant information.

More UN Security Council Resolutions at: http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/unsc_resolutions04.html