New treaty to combat illicit arms trafficking crucial for Central Africa, says Ban

30 April 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today exhorted ministers from Central African nations to work towards adopting a legal instrument to combat illicit arms trafficking, a move that will help reduce violence and bring peace and security to countries in the sub-region.

“The link between arms trafficking and other illicit activities is increasingly undeniable,” said Mr. Ban. “Yet Central Africa remains one of the few African sub-regions without a legally binding instrument to combat the phenomenon.”

Countries of the sub-region have gathered for the 30th Ministerial Meeting of the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, taking place in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to consider the revised text of the draft legal instrument drawn up by the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa.

In a message to the meeting, delivered by Sahle-Work Zewde, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Central African Republic, Mr. Ban voiced his hope that countries will adopt the instrument.

The Central African Convention on the control of small arms and light weapons, their ammunitions and parts and components that can be used for their fabrication, repair and assembly – as it is known formally – is “a milestone step that would help to reduce violence and bring undeniable peace and security dividends to your States,” said Mr. Ban.

The Secretary-General noted that prolonged periods of instability in several States clearly undermine efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the set of anti-poverty targets that world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015, and make the best use of the area’s vast natural wealth.

It is therefore crucial, he added, for the meeting to reflect on several cross-cutting challenges that have had a negative impact, including the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the fragility of the security sectors in some countries, violence against women, and illegal exploitation of natural resources, to name a few.

He urged participants to continue to use the Standing Advisory Committee as a mechanism for building confidence among the States in the sub-region and as a forum for exchanging views on all security-related issues.

In addition, he said he has proposed that the UN establish a political office in Libreville, Gabon, to work with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and countries of the sub-region in their stabilization and security efforts.

“I count on your continued support in our efforts to make this office a reality,” said Mr. Ban.


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