6 July 2012
General Assembly
DC/3365

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations Conference

on the Arms Trade Treaty

5th Meeting (AM)


Forged Documents Used to Ship Weapons to Fragile Areas, Fuelling Conflicts, Among


Critical Issues That Must Be Addressed by Arms Trade Treaty, Conference Told


As First Week Concludes, Hears from 7 More Speakers in General Debate,

Convenes in Main Committees to Discuss Treaty’s Goals, Objectives, Scope


The rampant use of forged documents to open the floodgates for rising numbers of conventional weapon deliveries to fragile areas must be among the critical issues tackled by a robust international arms trade instrument, the representative of Dominican Republic told delegates at Headquarters, as the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty continued its month-long meeting today.


“An unregulated flow of arms contributes to violence and instability and has a negative impact on our people,” she said.  “It has a negative impact on vulnerable populations.” 


Forged end-user certificates were commonly being used to ship weapons to fragile areas, she said.  Once delivered, the weapons were fuelling conflict.  For its part, her country had enacted stricter measures regulating the possession and trade of all types of weapons and she supported greater material and technical assistance for improved monitoring.


Similarly, the Russian Federation’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization said to be effective, a treaty should focus on specific goals and objectives arising from the key problems affecting the interests of all United Nations Member States.  Agreeing on goals was the challenge, he said, noting that the main purpose was to prevent the diversion of arms from legal to illegal markets.  An essential condition of a successful instrument was ensuring its universality, which could only be achieved at the United Nations.


However, procedural concerns also continued to pepper discussions at the Conference, which began Monday, and was stalled for two days over procedural issues.  Venezuela’s representative called it “unusual” that, given the Conference’s importance, there was still no negotiating text. 


“A case such as this, which convenes us today, should have merited greater maturity, debate and understanding between States,” he said.  “This was not the case.” 


Commenting on the treaty itself, he was very concerned that the instrument in no way threaten States’ security, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence and that it contained safeguards to prevent the politicization or manipulation of a possible international instrument by the largest producers and exporters.


The representatives of Nepal, Serbia, Austria and Sweden also delivered statements.


The representatives of Algeria and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea spoke on procedural matters.


Prior to adjourning the meeting, Conference President Roberto Garcia Moritan announced that delegates would continue their work in Main Committee 1 and Main Committee 2 to discuss the treaty in terms of its goals and objectives, and its scope.


The Conference will meet again in a plenary session at 10 a.m. on Monday, 9 July.


Background


Delegates to the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty met today to resume their general exchange of views in continuation of the negotiations towards a comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons. (For background, see Press Releases DC/3361 and DC/3362 of 3 July 2012.)


Statements


ALEXANDER DEYNEKO (Russian Federation), speaking on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said to be effective a treaty should focus on specific goals and objectives arising from the key problems affecting the interests of all United Nations Member States.  Agreeing on goals was the challenge, he said.  The main purpose was to prevent the diversion of arms from legal to illegal markets and, to address that, national systems monitoring transfers should be established.  Each State had a right to self-defence and that right should be protected.


The Collective Security Treaty Organization’s aim was to adopt a strong, effective, concise and implementable document, he said.  The document should include specific practical measures regarding arms transfers, general rules and principles to be determined by Governments themselves, and, in the context of globalization, cooperation at national, regional and international levels.  An essential condition of a successful instrument was ensuring its universality, which could only be achieved at the United Nations, he said.


MINOU TAVAREZ MIRABEL ( Dominican Republic) said activities serving to regulate weapons, including fighting the illicit arms trade, would only enhance peace and security.  Weapons flows had increased.  Forged end-user certificates were currently being used to ship weapons to areas that were fuelling recent conflicts.  She hoped that the treaty would address that issue.


For its part, her country had enacted strict measures regulating the possession and trade of all types of weapons.  “An unregulated flow of arms contributes to violence and instability and has a negative impact on our people,” she said.  “It has a negative impact on vulnerable populations.”  She supported greater material and technical assistance allowing for improved monitoring.  She also supported the proposal put forward that required a minimum of 30 States to ratify the treaty and another proposal suggesting 60 States should ratify the treaty in order to bring it into force.


GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA ( Nepal) said the time had come to write a new chapter in the arms trade treaty negotiations.  Billions of dollars of losses were recorded every year due to armed conflict.  An arms trade treaty would help to address that problem. Nepal believed that the scope of the arms trade treaty should be such as to cover the seven categories of weapons in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.  In addition, it must cover small arms and light weapons, as well as their ammunition.


Based on the work that had been done since 2006, there was now a need to move forward with the elaboration of the treaty, he said.  The negotiations for the treaty must be held in a transparent and open manner.  That required flexibility and the cooperation of all States.  In addition, there should be adequate provision in the treaty for assistance to States for national implementation of the provisions of the treaty.  The international community had come to a defining moment.  A robust arms trade treaty would contribute to international peace and security and would save millions of lives, allowing for peace, prosperity and development.


JORGE VALERO BRICEÑO ( Venezuela) said it was “unusual” that given the Conference’s importance, there was still no negotiating text.  “A case such as this which convenes us today should have merited greater maturity, debate and understanding between States,” he said.  “This was not the case.”  The treaty should be a collective agreement on a set of mechanisms of practical implementation available to all States, which in no way threatens the former’s security, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence.  It should also contain safeguards to prevent the politicization or manipulation of a possible international instrument by the largest producers and exporters. 


Transparency must be promoted, based on parameters that cannot be manipulated for political, commercial or economic reasons.  “We must not leave any room for exporting States to undermine the spirit and intent of an eventual international instrument,” he said.  “We must remember that, despite the existence of an arms embargo by the Security Council, imperial powers supplied heavy weapons to rebel groups in Libya.  The consequences are obvious: the illegal transfer of weapons has endangered the entire region…This instrument must not be transformed by the imperial powers into a tool of control and blackmail.”


FEODOR STARČEVIĆ ( Serbia) said the treaty must set the highest possible standards and be an implementable instrument.  It should also promote the goals of the United Nations Charter, including a State’s right to self-defence.  The objective should be to regulate the arms trade, based on international law.


Existing arms instruments were being implemented, and for its part, Serbia had also made efforts in that area, including hosting a regional seminar supporting the arms trade treaty in April 2012. 


MARTIN SAJDIK ( Austria) said that the arms trade treaty should be ambitious and must be legally binding, robust and effective.  It should also reflect high standards, in particular as far international human rights law and humanitarian law was concerned. The text should cover a wide range of transactions, so as to effectively curb the illegal and irresponsible arms trade.


On the scope of the Treaty, he said it should cover all conventional arms, including small arms, light weapons and ammunition.  In addition, there must be an effective implementation regime, which would ensure transparency and would take the fight against corruption into account.


PAUL BEIJER ( Sweden) said that, in order to save time and allow the Conference to proceed with its substantive work, he would not read his prepared statement.  He requested that the statement be circulated in written form to all delegations and posted as an official document of the Conference.


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For information media • not an official record