UN protocol curbing illegal firearm trafficking enters into force

7 July 2005 – A UN accord aimed at strengthening international cooperation to prevent the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms, has come into force, as part of an overall UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

The Protocol, against the illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts, Components and Ammunition, came into effect this week, 90 days after the date of its 40th instrument of ratification.

Currently, the Protocol, which is the first legally binding instrument on small arms adopted at the global level, has been signed by 52 Member States and received 42 ratifications, by which States undertake to adopt a series of crime control measures and implement provisions in their domestic legislation.

In May 2001, the Firearms Protocol was adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/255, as the third supplementary Protocol to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which entered into force in September 2003. The other two Protocols supplementing the Convention are: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in force since December 2003; and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, in force since January 2004.

The Protocol offers the opportunity for the international community to further streamline the threats posed by firearms, by reviewing the provisions of the Protocol, assessing difficulties and paving the way to the provision of technical assistance necessary to overcome such problems.

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