GENERAL AND COMPLETE DISARMAMENT: SMALL ARMS
Note by the Secretary-General
By its resolution 50/70 B of 12 December 1995 the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare a report on small arms, with the assistance of a panel of governmental experts.
Pursuant to that resolution, the Secretary-General has the honour to submit to the Assembly the report of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms.
Report of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms
FOREWORD BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
Readily available and easy to use, small arms and light weapons have been the primary or sole tools of violence in almost every recent conflict dealt with by the United Nations. In the hands of irregular troops operating with scant respect for international and humanitarian law, these weapons have taken a heavy toll of human lives, with women and children accounting for nearly 80 per cent of the casualties. Thus, the mandate given by the General Assembly in its resolution 50/70 B to report on the phenomenon of small arms was especially timely, drawing much-needed attention to what has become a priority concern in efforts to rid the world of the scourge of war and the burden of armaments.
While not by themselves causing the conflicts in which they are used, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons affects the intensity and duration of violence and encourages militancy rather than a peaceful resolution of unsettled differences. Perhaps most grievously, we see a vicious circle in which insecurity leads to a higher demand for weapons, which itself breed still greater insecurity, and so on.
Some of the most protracted armed conflicts in the world at present are those in which a recurring cycle of violence, an erosion of political legitimacy and a loss of economic viability deprive a State of its authority to cope with either the causes or the consequences of an excessive accumulation, proliferation and use of small arms. Effective measures against small arms would address both ends of that spectrum.
Towards that end, the Panel of Governmental Experts has prepared a pragmatic and results-oriented report, for which I am very grateful. The members of the Panel, deeply committed to the task entrusted to them, devoted more than their expertise: they financed their own field work which they viewed as essential for gaining a better understanding of several affected countries and subregions. The specific concerns of the subregions visited and the appeals contained in the appendices to the Panel's report merit prompt consideration.
In its report, the Panel recommends a set of practical measures to reduce the weapons already in circulation and to prevent future accumulations. The unanimity with which the Panel made those proposals deserves equally strong endorsement by the General Assembly.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL DATED 7 AUGUST 1997 FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PANEL OF GOVERNMENTAL EXPERTS ON SMALL ARMS ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
I have the honour to submit herewith the report of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms. The Panel was appointed by you in pursuance of paragraph 1 of General Assembly resolution 50/70 B of 12 December 1995.
In April 1996 you appointed, on the basis of equitable geographical representation, the following governmental experts:
Mr. Zulkifil bin Adnan
Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations
New York, N.Y., United States of America
Dr. Herbert Lee Calhoun
Senior Foreign Affairs Specialist
Bureau of Multilateral Affairs
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Washington, D.C., United States of America
Mr. David de Clerq
Department of Foreign Affairs
Ambassador Mitsuro Donowaki
Ambassador and Special Assistant to the
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Major Hugo Sigfredi Velasquez Hernandez
Fourth Logistical Department of the Joint Military Staff
San Salvador, El Salvador
Ambassador Dr. Mahmoud Karem
Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for Disarmament
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Prasad Kariyawasam
Embassy of Sri Lanka to the United States of America
Washington, D.C., United States of America
Mr. Pyotr G. Litavrin
Head of Division
Department for Security and Disarmament Affairs
Moscow, Russian Federation
Mr. B. J. Lombard
Conventional Non-proliferation and Arms Export Control
Department of Foreign Affairs
Pretoria, South Africa
Ambassador Andre Mernier
Permanent Representative of Belgium to the Conference
Mr. Behrouz Moradi
Department for Disarmament and International
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Teheran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Ambassador Pasi Patokallio
Deputy Director General for Political Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Colonel Valery Nikolayevich Pluzhnikov
Head of Artillery and Missile Service Section
Ministry of Defence
Colonel Wolfgang Richter
Delegation of Germany to the Conference on Disarmament
Lieutenant Colonel Blaise Sangare
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mrs. Graciela Uribe de Lozano
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The report was prepared between 24 June 1996 and 18 July 1997. During that period, the Panel held three sessions in New York: the first from 24 to 28 June 1996, the second from 21 to 31 January 1997 and the third from 7 to 18 July 1997. The Panel also met at Tokyo, from 26 to 28 May 1997, at the invitation of the Government of Japan.
The Panel wishes to express its appreciation for the excellent support which it received from members of the Secretariat. It expresses its thanks to the Director of the Centre for Disarmament Affairs, Mr. Prvoslav Davinic. Its special appreciation goes to Mrs. Swadesh Rana who served as the Secretary of the Panel, and to the consultant, Dr. Ed Laurance.
I have been requested by the Panel of Governmental Experts, as its Chairman, to submit to you, on its behalf, the present report, which was adopted unanimously.
(Signed) Mitsuro Donowaki
Chairman of the Panel of Governmental
Experts on Small Arms
FOREWORD BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
1. The General Assembly, in paragraph 1 of resolution 50/70 B of 12 December 1995, entitled "Small arms", requested the Secretary-General to prepare, with the assistance of a group of qualified governmental experts, a report on:
(a) The types of small arms and light weapons actually being used in conflicts being dealt with by the United Nations;
(b) The nature and causes of the excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of small arms and light weapons, including their illicit production and trade;
(c) The ways and means to prevent and reduce the excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of small arms and light weapons, in particular as they cause or exacerbate conflict.
2. In paragraph 2 of the resolution, the Secretary-General was requested to seek the views and proposals of Member States, to collect all other relevant information and make them available for consideration by the panel of governmental experts. The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General, in the preparation of the report, to pay particular attention to the role of the United Nations in this field and to the complementary role of regional organizations.
3. In April 1996, the Secretary-General appointed, on the basis of equitable geographical representation, a panel of governmental experts from 16 countries: Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mali, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United States of America.
4. The Panel held three sessions in New York, from 24 to 28 June 1996, from 20 to 31 January 1997 and from 7 to 18 July 1997. The Panel also met at Tokyo from 26 to 28 May 1997, at the invitation of the Government of Japan.1
5. The Panel took account of the replies received from Member States in response to Assembly resolution 50/70 B.2 It reviewed the conclusions and findings of other United Nations bodies and groups concerned with issues related to small arms, within their areas of jurisdiction.3 It assessed the relevant information collected by the Secretariat from the research community. It heard presentations by scholars and other invitees on the subjects covered by paragraph 1 of Assembly resolution 50/70 B.4
6. The mandate entrusted to the Panel was carried out without prejudice to the positions taken by Member States on, or the importance allocated by them to, the priorities accorded to nuclear disarmament, weapons of mass destruction and conventional disarmament. Anti-personnel landmines constitute a category of small arms and light weapons. The issue is, however, being addressed in other forums. The Panel, therefore, agreed to avoid duplication of effort and different approaches by excluding anti-personnel landmines from its deliberations.
7. In accordance with paragraph 1 (c) of Assembly resolution 50/70 B, the Panel concentrated its attention on the actual role of small arms and light weapons in exacerbating armed conflicts being dealt with by the United Nations.
8. The Panel decided to focus its attention on small arms and light weapons manufactured to military specifications, in view of the work currently being undertaken by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on firearm regulation for the purpose of crime prevention and public health and safety. Duplication of United Nations efforts should be avoided as much as possible. The Chairman of the Commission's Expert Group on Firearm Regulation, Mr. James Hayes, briefed the Panel on the work of the Commission on 8 July 1997. The Panel endorses the draft resolution recommended by the Commission for adoption by the Economic and Social Council, entitled "Firearm regulation for the purpose of crime prevention and public health and safety".5
9. To gain a better insight and clearer understanding of the problems created by the accumulation, proliferation and use of small arms in various regions, the Panel agreed to undertake inter-sessional work. As a result, the Panel organized three regional workshops to discuss the characteristics unique to each region and areas of common concern. The information collected at the workshops provided a major input to the preparation of the present report.
10. The first regional workshop was held at Pretoria, from 23 to 25 September 1996. It was financed from a voluntary contribution made by the Government of Japan. Logistical and administrative support was provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs of South Africa. Persons invited to participate in the workshop included those from the International Commission of Inquiry (Rwanda) and the Advisory Mission on the Proliferation of Light Weapons in the Saharo-Sahelian subregion. Also invited were government officials and individual experts from Sierra Leone, Somalia, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. In addition, 7 of the 16 members of the Panel participated in the workshop (the experts from Belgium, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mali, South Africa and the United States of America). The joint appeal on small arms, issued at Pretoria on 25 September, appears in appendix I.
11. The second regional workshop was held at San Salvador on 16 and 17 January 1997. The workshop was financed from voluntary contributions made by the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan and the United States of America. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador provided administrative and logistical support. Participants in the workshop included officials from the United Nations Support Unit in El Salvador, the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Association of Commissioners of Police. Also invited were government officials and individual experts from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States of America. In addition, eight members of the Panel participated (the experts from Belgium, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Finland, Japan, Malaysia, and the United States of America). The statement on small arms, issued at San Salvador on 17 January, appears in appendix II.
12. The third regional workshop was held at Kathmandu on 22 and 23 May 1997. With South-West Asia as its focus, the workshop was financed from a voluntary contribution made by the Government of Japan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal provided administrative and logistical support. Invitees from Bangladesh, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, the Russian Federation and Sri Lanka participated. In addition, nine members of the Panel participated (the experts from Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the United States of America). A call upon Afghanistan was made jointly by all the invitees from the subregion and appears in appendix III.
13. In the position paper of the Secretary-General entitled "Supplement to An Agenda for Peace" (A/50/60-S/1995/1), it is noted that while there are some agreed global norms and standards against weapons of mass destruction, there are no such norms or standards that can be used in reducing the excessive and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons. These are the weapons increasingly used as primary instruments of violence in the internal conflicts dealt with by the United Nations, they are responsible for large numbers of deaths and the displacement of citizens around the world, and they consume large amounts of United Nations resources.
14. The excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of small arms and light weapons is closely related to the increased incidence of internal conflicts and high levels of crime and violence. It is, therefore, an issue of legitimate concern for the international community. Groups and individuals operating outside the reach of State and government forces make extensive use of such weapons in internal conflicts. Insurgent forces, irregular troops, criminal gangs and terrorist groups are using all types of small arms and light weapons. The illicit trafficking in such weapons by drug cartels, criminals and traders in contraband goods has also been on the increase.
15. Small arms and light weapons have been or are the primary or sole tools of violence in several of the armed conflicts dealt with by the United Nations, particularly where fighting involves irregular troops among the conflicting parties. Many of these conflicts have inflicted heavy casualties on the people involved. The vast majority of the casualties have been civilians, mostly women and children. It was estimated that, by 1996, over 35 million people in 23 countries throughout the world were at risk of facing civil strife either owing to ongoing humanitarian crises or as a result of a slow recovery from past ones.6
16. Irrespective of their duration or level of violence, many such conflicts were or are being fought in populated areas, without concern for established norms of international law. In contrast to disciplined regular armed forces, irregular forces tend to make no distinction between a combatant and non-combatant. Irregular forces are equipped with whatever type of weapon they can acquire. Less expensive than major conventional weapons, ready to use without extensive prior training, particularly against civilians, and fit for transport on a person, pack animal or light vehicle, small arms and light weapons are often the weapons of choice in such situations.
17. Accumulations of small arms and light weapons by themselves do not cause the conflicts in which they are used. The availability of these weapons, however, contributes towards exacerbating conflicts by increasing the lethality and duration of violence, by encouraging a violent rather than a peaceful resolution of differences, and by generating a vicious circle of a greater sense of insecurity, which in turn leads to a greater demand for, and use of, such weapons.
18. A particularly disturbing feature of current conflicts is the participation of children. By 1988, as many as 200,000 children under the age of 16 were estimated to have participated in conflicts in 25 countries.7 Since then, the situation may even have worsened. In the case of protracted conflicts, entire generations of children have been affected.
19. Among the worst affected victims of recent conflicts fought primarily with small arms and light weapons are the inhabitants of some of the poorest countries in the world. Particularly vulnerable are multi-ethnic societies with a history of tension among groups. Also at risk are countries emerging from long wars of national liberation and confronted with the task of reintegrating former combatants into civil society. In many instances, weapons procured at an earlier stage for purposes of national liberation have become available for the violent overthrow of new Governments by insurgent forces or terrorists, or for acts of criminality for personal gain.
20. In one way or another, virtually every part of the United Nations system is dealing with the direct and indirect consequences of recent armed conflicts fought mostly with small arms and light weapons. Some of the most intractable armed conflicts being dealt with by the United Nations are those in which a recurring cycle of violence, an erosion of political legitimacy and a loss of economic viability have deprived a State of its authority to cope either with the causes or the consequences of the excessive accumulation, proliferation and use of small arms and light weapons.
21. The full extent of the destabilizing consequences of an excessive accumulation, proliferation, transfer and use of small arms and light weapons is only beginning to be assessed. In the process of negotiating and implementing peace accords to end armed conflicts, the United Nations has learned valuable lessons about the high priority that must be given to weapons-related issues. Among them are experiences with the imposition by Member States of United Nations embargoes in conflict situations; the retrieval, collection and disposal of weapons; the reintegration into society of former combatants; and the training of personnel for the maintenance of law and order. An encouraging lesson drawn from the recent United Nations experience is the willingness of local communities in some States to volunteer in uncovering, collecting and destroying small arms that are unaccounted for.
22. Given the serious consequences of the problem as described above, this is a promising time to analyse the small arms and light weapons in use in recent conflicts, the nature and causes of their accumulation and transfer, as well as to recommend to Member States, regional organizations and the international community as a whole, particularly as represented by the United Nations, practical measures to prevent and reduce the excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of such weapons, with a view to diminishing their role in exacerbating conflicts.
III. WEAPONS IN USE
23. The mandate assigned by the General Assembly to the Panel was to consider the types of small arms and light weapons actually being used in conflicts being dealt with by the United Nations. It is important to consider the unique characteristics of small arms and light weapons in developing the ways and means to solve the problems caused by their excessive accumulation.
24. Small arms and light weapons range from clubs, knives and machetes to those weapons just below those covered by the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, for example, mortars below the calibre of 100 mm. The small arms and light weapons which are of main concern for the purposes of the present report are those which are manufactured to military specifications for use as lethal instruments of war.
25. Small arms and light weapons are used by all armed forces, including internal security forces, for, inter alia, self-protection or self-defence, close or short-range combat, direct or indirect fire, and against tanks or aircraft at relatively short distances. Broadly speaking, small arms are those weapons designed for personal use, and light weapons are those designed for use by several persons serving as a crew.
26. Based on this broad definition and on an assessment of weapons actually used in conflicts being dealt with by the United Nations, the weapons addressed in the present report are categorized as follows:
(a) Small arms:
(i) Revolvers and self-loading pistols;
(ii) Rifles and carbines;
(iv) Assault rifles;
(v) Light machine-guns;
(b) Light weapons:
(i) Heavy machine-guns;
(ii) Hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade launchers;
(iii) Portable anti-aircraft guns;**
(iv) Portable anti-tank guns, recoilless rifles;**
(v) Portable launchers of anti-tank missile and rocket systems;**
(vi) Portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems;
(vii) Mortars of calibres of less than 100 mm;
(c) Ammunition and explosives:
(i) Cartridges (rounds) for small arms;
(ii) Shells and missiles for light weapons;
(iii) Mobile containers with missiles or shells for single-action anti-aircraft and anti-tank systems;
(iv) Anti-personnel and anti-tank hand grenades;
** These weapons are sometimes mounted.
27. While small arms and light weapons are designed for use by armed forces, they have unique characteristics that are also of particular advantage for irregular warfare or terrorist and criminal action:
(a) Since weapons in this class are capable of being carried, if a small arm, by one person or, if a light arm, by two or more people, a pack animal or a light vehicle, they allow for mobile operations where heavy mechanized and air forces are not available or are restricted in their capabilities owing to difficult mountain, jungle or urban terrain;
(b) Under these conditions, mortars or mounted anti-aircraft guns sometimes constitute the main armament of light forces, providing them with high firepower that often causes heavy casualties among the civilian population if used indiscriminately;
(c) Light anti-aircraft and anti-tank missile systems not only provide the capability to sustain operations in favourable terrain against forces supported by tanks and aircraft but can also be used by terrorists against civil air traffic with devastating effects;
(d) Since many small arms require a minimum of maintenance and logistics they are suited for protracted operations;
(e) Since they can easily be concealed they are suited to covert actions and transfer;
(f) Since they are less complex and, therefore, normally of lower cost than major conventional weapons, especially if they are used or surplus, they are affordable by actors other than the State.
28. In conflicts dealt with by the United Nations, non-military weapons, that is, those weapons not manufactured to military specifications, such as hunting firearms and home-made weapons, have been used in violent conflicts, terrorism, and the intentional harming of civilian populations. In such cases, and where such weapons are used and accumulated in numbers that endanger the security and political stability of a State, the Panel considered them relevant for the purposes of the present report.8
29. Ammunition and explosives form an integral part of the small arms and light weapons used in conflicts. The availability of ammunition is an important independent element, since weapons can be rendered useless without appropriate ammunition. The mass production of modern reliable and effective ammunition requires highly developed and precise industrial tools. It is assumed that all countries producing small arms (more than 70) and light weapons are also capable of manufacturing the relevant ammunition. In addition, in many regions there is a widespread private production of less reliable ammunition by small enterprises and individuals.
30. Moreover, violence perpetrated through improvised explosive devices has recently exacerbated conflicts and caused severe destruction and death. Even a small quantity of such explosive devices has been used to devastating effect by terrorists and insurgents in various parts of the world. In this context, it has been observed that the unimpeded supply and availability of ammunition and explosives, especially by means of illicit trafficking, compound the effects of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Therefore, ammunition and explosives themselves are a cause for concern in conflicts affected by small arms and light weapons.
31. The indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines has created a significant global problem well within the mandate of the Panel. Since the international community is, however, addressing this issue in other forums, the Panel agreed to avoid duplication of effort and different approaches by not including anti-personnel landmines in its deliberations.
32. In contrast to anti-personnel landmines, small arms are constructed for and capable of precise direct fire without inherent indiscriminate effects. High civilian casualties in recent conflicts are the result of indiscriminate warfare that deliberately targets the civilian population with whichever weapons are available.
33. New technologies are constantly being developed and applied to small arms and light weapons. Attention needs to be paid to the potential impact of these new developments with respect to their proliferation, accumulation and potential for negative effects in those conflicts dealt with by the United Nations. Particular attention should be given to modern light-missile launchers, together with precision-guided munitions, such as the shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles that can be used for terrorist attacks against sensitive targets, with devastating effects.
IV. NATURE AND CAUSES OF EXCESSIVE AND DESTABILIZING
ACCUMULATIONS OF SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS.
34. While there is a growing recognition of problems associated with the proliferation, accumulation and use of small arms and light weapons, there are no globally agreed norms and standards to determine the excessive and destabilizing levels of this class of weapon.
35. A majority of the small arms and light weapons being used in conflicts dealt with by the United Nations are not newly produced. Those weapons which are newly produced come from many different countries, as illustrated in the data below on the production of assault rifles for the years 1945-1990:9
Name of assault rifle
Number of countries using the weapon
Number of countries manufacturing the weapon
Number of weapons manufactured (millions)
FN FAL family
H&K G3 family
36. The terms "excessive" and "destabilizing" are relative and exist only in the context of specific regions, subregions or States. The mere accumulation of weapons is not a sufficient criterion by which to define an accumulation of weapons as excessive or destabilizing, since large numbers of weapons that are under the strict and effective control of a responsible State do not necessarily lead to violence. Conversely, a small number of weapons can be destabilizing under certain conditions.
37. Accumulations of small arms and light weapons become excessive and destabilizing:
(a) When a State, whether a supplier or recipient, does not exercise restraint in the production, transfer and acquisition of such weapons beyond those needed for legitimate national and collective defence and internal security;
(b) When a State, whether a supplier or recipient, cannot exercise effective control to prevent the illegitimate acquisition, transfer, transit or circulation of such weapons;
(c) When the use of such weapons manifests itself in armed conflict, in crime, such as arms and drug trafficking, or other actions contrary to the norms of national or international law.
38. Accumulations of small arms and light weapons by themselves do not cause the conflicts in which they are used. They can, however, exacerbate and increase their lethality. These conflicts have underlying causes which arise from a number of accumulated and complex political, commercial, socio-economic, ethnic, cultural and ideological factors. Such conflicts will not be finally resolved without addressing the root causes.
39. There is no single cause for these accumulations and their subsequent transformation into instability and conflict. The variety of different causes is usefully categorized by demand and supply factors, although the distinction between both factors is not always clear-cut and there are grey areas in between. Accumulations are always a combination of both factors but the predominance of either demand or supply varies by subregion and State, as well as by time period.
40. At the global level, internal conflicts have served to attract large numbers of small arms and light weapons. In this context, one factor bearing on the availability, circulation and accumulation of these weapons in many areas of conflict is their earlier supply by cold war opponents. Foreign interference in areas of tension, or conflict by States which pursue strategic or specific regional interests, is still a feature of current realities. Also, alien domination or foreign occupation and violation of the right to self-determination of all peoples in contravention of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as other political and socio-economic inequities, have given rise to conflict.10
41. Insurgency and terrorism remain as factors in the destabilizing use of small arms, light weapons or explosives. Other factors are drug trafficking and criminality. The link between terrorism and such weapons has been referred to by several international forums.
42. When the State loses control over its security functions and fails to maintain the security of its citizens, the subsequent growth of armed violence, banditry and organized crime increases the demand for weapons by citizens seeking to protect themselves and their property.
43. The incomplete reintegration of former combatants into society after a conflict has ended, in combination with the inability of States to provide governance and security, may lead to their participation in crime and armed violence.
44. In some States and subregions there is a culture of weapons whereby the possession of military-style weapons is a status symbol, a source of personal security, a means of subsistence, a sign of manliness and, in some cases, a symbol of ethnic and cultural identity. By itself, such a culture does not necessarily lead to a culture of violence in which the possession of these weapons connotes political power and a preference for the resolution of conflict by the use of arms. The transformation of a culture of weapons to a culture of violence, resulting in the increasing demand for weapons, most often occurs when a State cannot guarantee security to its citizens or control the illicit activities in which these weapons are utilized. The task of controlling or lowering the level of use of these weapons is made more difficult in a culture of weapons.
45. States have the right to export and import small arms and light weapons. The misuse of that right and the relatively recent awareness of the problems caused by the accumulation of small arms and light weapons have resulted in insufficient recognition being accorded to the need to better control the transfer of such weapons.
46. During the cold war, the increase in licensed production and transfer of technology led to a proliferation of legitimate producers of small arms and light weapons, mainly medium-sized and small enterprises, in an effort by States to become more independent in the production of weapons considered necessary to their security. This led to the search for export markets in order to dispose of surplus weapons. New production of small arms and light weapons has, however, declined owing to a reduction in national defence budgets.
47. Another factor to be considered is the large surplus of small arms and light weapons created by the reduction in armed forces in the post-cold-war period. While a significant portion of these weapons has been destroyed, an unknown number of them has found its way to internal armed conflicts from States that have ceased to exist or lost political control.
48. The problem of the accumulation of weapons is exacerbated by the fact that, during some conflicts, large quantities of weapons were distributed to citizens by Governments, in addition to being obtained from other sources, including illicit transfers. In several instances, self-defence units were formed by Governments and gun possession laws were liberalized. When the conflicts ended, the weapons remained in the hands of citizens and were available for recirculation within the society, in the region and even outside the region.
49. Several United Nations peacekeeping or post-conflict peace-building operations have resulted in the incomplete disarmament of former combatants owing to peace agreements or mandates which did not cover small arms and light weapons disarmament, or to shortfalls in the implementation of mandates because of inadequate operational guidance or resources. Thus, large numbers of surplus weapons became available in the conflict areas for criminal activities, recirculation and illicit trafficking.
C. Modes of transfer
50. Much of the supply and acquisition of small arms and light weapons is legitimate trade which occurs among Governments or among legal entities authorized by Governments.
51. During the cold war and in the current period, States have secretly carried out transfers of small arms and light weapons. Such transfers are not necessarily illicit. Any transfer not approved by the competent authorities in the recipient State could, however, be classified by that State as interference in its internal affairs and therefore illegal.
52. The supply of weapons to regions of tension and conflict is characterized by a lack of transparency that is due to the characteristics of small arms and light weapons which can be easily concealed during transport.
53. Networks operating internationally and other modes of transfer used for the illicit transfer of a variety of commodities are also used to transfer weapons. The techniques used involve smuggling, concealment, mislabelling and false documentation. To hide financial transactions, use is made of coded bank accounts protected by the secrecy laws of some financial institutions. To transport weapons, various methods are used, such as ships with bogus registration and flags of convenience.
54. Illicit actors in this trade include certain groups in exile and private arms dealers, whose motives may include political support of groups within a country, or drug trafficking and other criminal activities conducted for profit.
55. Several insurgent and armed groups are known to procure weapons and obtain financial support with the assistance of allied groups and organizations based abroad which act as a front and which illicitly traffic in weapons, ammunition and explosives.
56. Criminal elements and groups engaged in armed internal conflict can also acquire small arms and light weapons by: an exchange between groups and among unauthorized persons; theft, robbery or loss of weapons in legal possession; and raids, ambushes and other hostile acts. Often, weapons resulting from legal transfers between Governments end up on the illegal market because of corrupt governmental officials.
D. Illicit trade in weapons
57. Illicit trafficking in weapons is understood to cover that international trade in conventional weapons, which is contrary to the laws of States and/or international law.11
58. Illicit trafficking in such weapons plays a major role in the violence currently affecting some countries and regions, by supplying the instruments used to destabilize societies and Governments, encourage crime, and foster terrorism, drug trafficking, mercenary activities and the violation of human rights.
59. In some cases the illicit supply of small arms and light weapons has occurred because there is no adequate national system of controls on arms production, exports and imports, and because border and customs personnel are poorly trained or corrupt.
60. The differences that exist between the legislation and enforcement mechanisms of States for the import and export of weapons, as well as the lack of cooperation in that area, facilitates the circulation and illicit transfer of small arms and light weapons. There is also no international convention or agreement that restricts such trade, or a body of rules by which a given transfer can be declared illegal under international law other than the arms embargoes adopted by the Security Council.
61. Accumulations of weapons by means of illicit trafficking are facilitated by a lack of coordination and cooperation among the States involved. In the case of both the recirculation and supply of weapons from outside the region or subregion, efforts to diminish the negative effects of such weapons are hampered by States that will not or cannot cooperate in such basic functions as sharing information regarding illicit trafficking in weapons and coordinating the cross-border seizure and collection of weapons.
E. Regional realities
62. Based on United Nations reports on its peace operations, commissions of inquiry and, most important, the three regional workshops conducted by the Panel, it became clear that there are effects and consequences unique to specific regions, subregions and States.
63. The African region is confronted with the challenges of both dealing with socio-economic reconstruction in post-conflict societies and containing various internal conflicts. The uncontrolled availability of small arms and light weapons is not only fuelling such conflicts but is also exacerbating violence and criminality. This undermines the State's ability to govern effectively, thereby threatening the stability and security necessary for socio-economic development. Porous borders, lack of resources and the absence of detailed and comprehensive data on the extent of this phenomenon are inhibiting the region's ability to effectively deal with the problem of proliferation.
64. Southern Africa is affected by the supply of small arms and light weapons left over from the conflicts in Mozambique and Angola, as well as licensed weapons being stolen or lost. There is a concern among the States in the region that the availability of these weapons is a major factor in exacerbating crime and armed violence, thereby threatening the consolidation of democracy and security which is needed for sustainable development. The weapons of most concern are, among others, handguns, assault rifles and home-made weapons.
65. Central Africa is dominated by recent internal and ethnic violence and violations of the Security Council arms embargo. The major factor impeding the development of ways and means of dealing with accumulations of weapons in this subregion is the collapse of the State's ability to govern and provide for its national security and the security of its citizens. This is compounded by the extreme levels of poverty in the subregion.
66. The weapons proliferating and available in West Africa are not newly produced but are left over from several civil wars of the recent past. This proliferation is enhanced by particularly long and unmanned borders. This destabilizing factor has forced some States in the Saharo-Sahelian subregion to ask for and receive United Nations assistance.
67. The Central American subregion has seen the end of three major domestic conflicts in the past seven years, where the United Nations played a critical role in their conclusion. As one of the major areas of confrontation during the cold war, this subregion was supplied with large numbers of small arms and light weapons which are still in circulation. They remain available for acquisition by criminal gangs and armed groups, despite the encouraging results from several programmes for the collection and destruction of arms.
68. Geographically, Central America is a major transit area for the illicit trafficking in drugs and weapons between North and South America, which produces destabilizing effects for the entire region.
69. The States in Central America have a particular challenge in demobilizing and reintegrating a large number of former combatants into useful and productive roles in society, since much of the crime and armed violence is perpetrated by ex-combatants with the weapons they retained after the conflicts were concluded. As a result of post-conflict peace-building processes, the subregion is marked by demilitarization and the development of democratic Governments which are increasingly able to build the basic institutions that can provide security for citizens of the State and its further economic and social development.
70. The problem of excessive and destabilizing accumulations of small arms and light weapons in South Asia was significantly shaped by the war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1988. During that conflict, both sides in the cold war exported large quantities of both major conventional weapons and small arms and light weapons into the region. Today, Afghanistan is a leading source of unaccounted weapons. The conflict continues and much of the current inflow of weapons is due to illicit deals involving a circuitous network of manufacturers, buyers, suppliers and distributors which are able to operate because of a lack of State authority. There is a lack of cooperation among several States in the region that also contributes to the problems of covert supply and poor controls over small arms and light weapons.
71. Insurgents and terrorist groups, as well as drug traffickers, in the region are also supplied with small arms and light weapons by illicit or covert networks. This region is particularly plagued by illicit trafficking in explosives, especially improvised explosive devices which have been frequently used in armed attacks. Most armed groups are based overseas and conduct fund-raising abroad for the illicit procurement of arms and for violent acts in the region.12
72. In this region, the production of and trafficking in drugs are directly linked to the proliferation and acquisition of small arms and light weapons. This problem, and illicit trafficking in weapons in general, is exacerbated by a lack of either local or international controls of land and maritime borders in certain States of the region.
73. During the cold war, large numbers of weapons, including small arms and light weapons, were accumulated in Europe. After the end of the cold war in many European States, weapon holdings have been reduced through destruction or cascading. In some instances, the grave weakening or even collapse of State structures, and in particular the dissolution of the Soviet Union, has led to a greater availability of small arms and light weapons that is outside State control. The surfeit of weapons has often aggravated the general feeling of insecurity and, in some cases, fuelled ethnic confrontation and even civil war. The former Yugoslavia and Albania are the worst examples.
74. The above-mentioned developments, combined with serious economic difficulties, have also had an impact on other regions of the world in the form of an increased flow of weapons from sometimes poorly controlled stocks on the territory of some countries of Eastern Europe and of stationed forces in the former German Democratic Republic.
75. Although many European countries reduced weapons production after the end of the cold war, Europe still has significant domestic capabilities for the production of weapons.
76. In some European countries, insurgent movements, terrorist groups and criminal gangs are involved in the illicit use of and trafficking in small arms and light weapons.
Commonalities among affected regions
77. The observations made regarding some regions, subregions and States can be summarized in the following commonalities:
(a) There is an apparent link between the availability of weapons, trafficking in drugs and arms, and the level of violence;
(b) Transfers of weapons are often unchecked owing to inadequate controls over long and porous borders;
(c) The crime and violence arising from the availability of small arms and light weapons have made it more difficult to conduct development projects and programmes that address the root causes of conflict. This has led to a decline in economic assistance and investment from donors. Also, States must use more of their scarce resources to provide security and relief to the victims of violence;
(d) Illicit trafficking in arms in some regions has violent and destabilizing effects;
(e) Where a culture of weapons exists, it may be more easily transformed into a culture of violence, particularly when tension escalates due to the root causes of conflict;
(f) In some regions, young people are often the victims and perpetrators of violence, particularly where high unemployment and political hostilities exist. They are easily recruited and indoctrinated into violent groups and are more likely to follow a path of violence, even when political hostilities cease;
(g) National efforts to address excessive and destabilizing accumulations of small arms are often insufficient owing to the magnitude of the problem and scarce resources. In many instances, multilateral and regional efforts have been undertaken;13
(h) Another reality in some regions is that an adequate level of security is necessary to solve the problems associated with the excessive and destabilizing accumulations of small arms and light weapons;
(i) Most of the States and regions experiencing problems with armed violence stemming from the excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of small arms and light weapons also have problems of poverty and lack economic development. These issues are linked;
(j) In some regions, drug control efforts have increased the demand for small arms and light weapons by both law enforcement authorities and drug traffickers, thereby raising the level of violence.
78. The Panel's recommendations are comprised first of measures to reduce the excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of small arms and light weapons in specific regions of the world where such accumulations and transfers have already taken place. These are followed by measures to prevent such accumulations and transfers from occurring in future.
79. The Panel recommends the following reduction measures:
(a) The United Nations should adopt a proportional and integrated approach to security and development, including the identification of appropriate assistance for the internal security forces initiated with respect to Mali and other West African States, and extend it to other regions of the world where conflicts come to an end and where serious problems of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons have to be dealt with urgently. The donor community should support this new approach in regard to such regions of the world;
(b) The United Nations should support, with the assistance of the donor community, all appropriate post-conflict initiatives related to disarmament and demobilization, such as the disposal and destruction of weapons, including weapons turn-in programmes sponsored locally by governmental and non-governmental organizations;
(c) Once national conciliation is reached, the United Nations should assist in convening an inter-Afghan forum to prepare, inter alia, a schedule to account for, retrieve and destroy the small arms and light weapons left unaccounted for in Afghanistan;
(d) In view of the problems stemming from an excess of small arms and light weapons left over from many internal conflicts and the lessons learned from the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations, two sets of guidelines should be developed in order to:
(i) Assist negotiators of peace settlements in developing plans to disarm combatants, particularly as concerns light weapons, small arms and munitions, and to include therein plans for the collection of weapons and their disposal, preferably by destruction;
(ii) Provide assistance to peacekeeping missions in implementing their mandates, based on peace settlements;
Former peace negotiators and members of peacekeeping operations of the United Nations should be consulted in the preparation of such guidelines. In this connection, consideration should be given to the establishment of a disarmament component in peacekeeping operations undertaken by the United Nations.
(e) States and regional organizations, where applicable, should strengthen international and regional cooperation among police, intelligence, customs and border control officials in combating the illicit circulation of and trafficking in small arms and light weapons and in suppressing criminal activities related to the use of these weapons;
(f) The establishment of mechanisms and regional networks for information sharing for the above-mentioned purposes should be encouraged;
(g) All such weapons which are not under legal civilian possession, and which are not required for the purposes of national defence and internal security, should be collected and destroyed by States as expeditiously as possible.
80. The Panel recommends the following prevention measures:
(a) All States should implement the recommendations contained in the guidelines for international arms transfers in the context of General Assembly resolution 46/36 H of 6 December 1991, adopted by the Disarmament Commission in 1996;14
(b) All States should determine in their national laws and regulations which arms are permitted for civilian possession and the conditions under which they can be used;
(c) All States should ensure that they have in place adequate laws, regulations and administrative procedures to exercise effective control over the legal possession of small arms and light weapons and over their transfer in order, inter alia, to prevent illicit trafficking;
(d) States emerging from conflict should, as soon as practicable, impose or reimpose licensing requirements on all civilian possession of small arms and light weapons on their territory;
(e) All States should exercise restraint with respect to the transfer of the surplus of small arms and light weapons manufactured solely for the possession of and use by the military and police forces. All States should also consider the possibility of destroying all such surplus weapons;15
(f) All States should ensure the safeguarding of such weapons against loss through theft or corruption, in particular from storage facilities;
(g) The United Nations should urge relevant organizations, such as the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the World Customs Organization, as well as all States and their relevant national agencies, to closely cooperate in the identification of the groups and individuals engaged in illicit trafficking activities, and the modes of transfer used by them;
(h) All States and relevant regional and international organizations should intensify their cooperative efforts against all aspects of illicit trafficking mentioned in the present report that are related to the proliferation and accumulation of small arms and light weapons;
(i) The United Nations should encourage the adoption and implementation of regional or subregional moratoriums, where appropriate, on the transfer and manufacture of small arms and light weapons, as agreed upon by the States concerned;
(j) Other regional organizations should take note, and make use, as appropriate, of the work of the Organization of American States in preparing a draft inter-American convention against the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related materials;
(k) The United Nations should consider the possibility of convening an international conference on the illicit arms trade in all its aspects, based on the issues identified in the present report;
(l) To assist in preventing the illicit trafficking in and circulation of small arms and light weapons, the United Nations should initiate studies on the following:
(i) The feasibility of establishing a reliable system for marking all such weapons from the time of their manufacture;
(ii) The feasibility of restricting the manufacture and trade of such weapons to the manufacturers and dealers authorized by States, and of establishing a database of such authorized manufacturers and dealers;
(m) The United Nations should initiate a study on all aspects of the problem of ammunition and explosives.
1 At the invitation of the Canadian Council for International Peace and Security, the Chairman and the experts from Belgium Canada, Finland and Germany participated in a workshop on international efforts to constrain light weapons, held at Ottawa on 25 January 1997.
2 Replies were received from: Belarus, Colombia, Italy (on behalf of the States members of the European Union), Jamaica, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.
3 The following reports were made available to the Panel: report of the International Commission of Inquiry (Rwanda) (S/1996/195, annex); report of the International Commission of Inquiry concerning Burundi (S/1996/682, annex I); Saharo-Sahelian advisory mission: report on Mali, 1995; report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia (S/1996/42); informal paper of the Disarmament Commission concerning guidelines for international arms transfers in the context of General Assembly resolution 46/36 H of 6 December 1991; report of the Secretary-General on measures to regulate firearms (E/CN.15/1997/4 and Corr.1); United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, "The social impacts of light weapons availability and proliferation", (discussion paper No. 59, March 1995); study on ways and means of promoting transparency in international transfers of conventional arms: report of the group of experts appointed by the Secretary-General in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 43/75 I of 7 December 1988 (A/46/301, annex).
4 A list of persons invited to the regular sessions and inter-sessional workshops of the Panel is given in appendix IV.
5 Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1997, Supplement No. 10 (E/1997/30-E/CN.15/1997/21), chap. I, sect. B, draft resolution II. The draft resolution was subsequently adopted by the Council (resolution 1997/28 of 21 July 1997).
6 See "Global Humanitarian Emergencies, 1996", paper released by the United States Mission to the United Nations (New York, February 1996).
7 See United Nations Children's Fund, The State of the World's Children, 1996 (Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1996) and the report of the expert of the Secretary-General, Ms. Graça Machel, on the impact of armed conflict on children (A/51/306 and Add.1).
8 Home-made weapons, including those referred to as "zip-guns", are simple in design and can be constructed by unskilled people with little knowledge of such weapons. The material used may be found in almost every house or rubbish dump. Any available type of ammunition can be modified to fit these weapons.
9 Virginia Hart Ezell, Report on International Small Arms Production and Proliferation (Alexandria, Virginia, Institute for Research on Small Arms in International Security, March 1995), p. 9.
10 As noted, inter alia, in paragraph 14 of the guidelines for international arms transfers in the context of General Assembly resolution 46/36 H of 6 December 1991 (see Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session, Supplement No. 42 (A/51/42), annex I); and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights on 25 June 1993 (A/CONF.157/24 (Part I), chap. III).
11 See paragraph 7 of the guidelines for international arms transfers in the context of General Assembly resolution 46/36 H of 6 December 1991 (Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session, Supplement No. 42 (A/51/42), annex I).
12 The Summit Declaration of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation held in May 1997 called for international action to prevent the abuse of refugee conventions and to halt activities which help terrorist groups to collect funds for their activities in South Asia.
13 These include efforts by the Organization of American States and some States within the Southern African Development Community, and the Framework Treaty on Democratic Security signed by the Presidents of the Central American States in 1995.
14 Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session, Supplement No. 42 (A/51/42), annex I.
15 The term "surplus" indicates serviceable and unserviceable small arms and light weapons held in stockpiles by military and police forces and the illicit weapons seized by such forces that they no longer need.
Joint appeal on small arms, issued at the conclusion of the first
regional workshop of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small
Arms, held at Pretoria from 23 to 25 September 1996
1. We, the participants from Africa in the regional workshop held at Pretoria, voice our shared concern over the following consequences of the accumulation, proliferation and use of small arms:
(a) Incidents of violence that claim the lives mostly of innocent civilians;
(b) Acts of criminality ranging from poaching, cattle-rustling and armed robberies to hijacking and terrorism;
(c) The corrosive impact on civil society by the creation of a vicious circle between an acuter sense of personal insecurity and a higher demand for small arms;
(d) Competing claims on scarce resources for the provision of immediate relief and rehabilitation to victims of violence, and for investment in long-term socio-economic development;
(e) The destabilizing effect on the African region owing to the mass movement of internally displaced people and refugees fleeing from armed conflicts.
2. No single cause can fully explain the recent rise in incidents of violence and criminality resulting from the use of a category of weapons that has existed for decades, if not centuries. Several explanations can, however, be offered:
(a) A period of transition from military regimes to democratization, resulting in the easy availability of weapons hitherto belonging to military personnel;
(b) A parallel process of state formation and political institution-building in societies experimenting with non-violent instruments of political change;
(c) Demographic trends, with a larger number of younger people seeking economic opportunities and resorting to violence to gain attention and access to resources;
(d) The successful culmination of national liberation movements, leaving behind arsenals of weapons readily available for purchase, resale and use by individuals and organized gangs motivated by personal profit or greed for power;
(e) Collusion between some private arms dealers and profiteers from the illicit trade in drugs, precious stones and ivory.
3. We see our new democracies facing a twin threat arising from the uncontrolled accumulation, proliferation and use of small arms:
(a) Spill-overs from neighbouring countries, particularly when there is ethnic affinity across national territorial frontiers and people uprooted through violent resort to the same in their efforts to obtain shelter;
(b) The challenge of reintegrating former military personnel into civil society, especially when soldiers trained to fight a war find a common cause with rebels opposed to the establishment of democratic institutions.
4. A failure of the democratic experiment in Africa will not be just sad. It will be chaotic, as it may signify not a return of military regimes but a breakdown of the institution of the State. Believing that the best guarantee for fostering democratic institutions is to build up societal resistance to violence as an instrument of political change, we are ready to contain, control and discourage individual and group resort to small arms. Our porous geographical frontiers and ethnic affinities across national boundaries make it imperative that we adopt collective regional measures to:
(a) Combat arms smuggling, money laundering, stock-stealing, poaching, drug trafficking, vehicle theft and illegal immigration;
(b) Harmonize national legislation in order to ensure that criminals escaping from justice in a country with stringent laws do not find shelter in another country with lax regulations;
(c) Standardize licensing procedures for the possession of arms in order to establish accountability;
(d) Pool relevant intelligence information, police activity and customs controls in order to detect and apprehend the illicit transboundary movement of small arms;
(e) Enter into agreements for extradition.
5. We are fully aware that concentration on small arms as the primary instruments of violence in our societies will not be sufficient unless we simultaneously address and resolve the causes of violence. We resolve to create a future of economic opportunity for our younger population, whose education and upbringing has been disrupted by protracted armed conflicts. We will work towards the integration, rather than the alienation, of former combatants and military personnel into civil society. To promote societal resistance to violence, we will rely even more upon our traditional customs of consensus- building.
6. We call upon research institutes and non-governmental organizations to join us in creating public awareness of the direct and indirect consequences of the accumulation, proliferation and use of small arms.
7. We urge the donor community to make provision in their developmental assistance policies for programmes to reintegrate demobilized military personnel into civil society.
8. We seek international expertise in training the trainers to establish vocational and professional institutes for our younger population.
9. We welcome recent initiatives by leading donors to integrate developmental assistance with further support for democratic institutions.
10. We ask the United Nations to ensure that its post-conflict peace programmes include arrangements for the destruction and disposal of weapons and for the trade-off of weapons and equipment for gainful employment.
11. We request the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms to give full consideration to this joint appeal in its deliberations and to append it to the report to be submitted to the General Assembly in pursuance of its resolution 50/7O B.
Mr. Tome Picasso,
Ministry of National Defence, Mozambique
Mr. Hopelong U Ipinge,
Deputy Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Defence, Namibia
Captain S. H. Norman,
Deputy Minister of Defence, Sierra Leone
General Mohamed Nur Galal, Somalia
Dr. Timothy L. L. Dlamini,
Ministry of Defence, Swaziland
Major General Michael Nyambuya,
Army Headquarters, Zimbabwe
Statement on small arms, issued at the conclusion of the second
regional workshop of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small
Arms held at San Salvador, on 16 and 17 January 1997
1. We, the invitees to the second regional workshop of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms:
(a) Associate ourselves with the joint appeal on small arms, issued at the first regional workshop, held at Pretoria in September 1996;
(b) Share the concerns over the incidence of increased violence and acts of criminality resulting from the illegal accumulation and use of small arms by individuals and groups.
2. The countries of the Central American region are undergoing a unique experience. Weapons are not manufactured in the region itself but small arms of every conceivable variety are readily available, cheap to buy, easy to conceal and frequently change hands in the region. The geographical location of the region makes it a convenient and much frequented route for the illicit arms trade. Established networks of highly organized gangs dealing in narcotics and weaponry have made the region a favourite haven for money laundering and the investment of drug profits.
3. Arms by themselves do not cause violent conflict. It is economic and social inequities which generate violence. The easy availability of arms, however, undoubtedly affects the intensity, frequency and duration of violence.
4. For decades, the unorganized majority of the civilian population in the region became victim to violence by an organized minority. The region lost hundreds of thousands of human lives and millions of people were displaced.
5. A first step towards reversing the havoc inflicted on the region was the successful conclusion of peace agreements. Ceasefires cannot guarantee lasting peace unless they are accompanied by a determined effort to ensure that the huge surpluses of weapons circulating in the region do not fall into the hands of criminal elements.
6. The process of democratization and demilitarization of the region is by now fairly well established. But the social and political frictions which generated wars in the past are far from being resolved.
7. The countries of the region are now ready to put violent strife behind them and look ahead to an era of uninterrupted peace and prosperity. Now is the time to heal, to rebuild and to rehabilitate. Now is the time to address the underlying causes of the recurring resort to violence. Now is the time to create opportunities for the fullest realization of the most valuable asset of the region, its human resources. Now is the time to reintegrate the former combatants into civil society.
8. We invite the members of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms to join the efforts of the region to implement programmes for the collection of weapons and develop other initiatives for the gainful employment of former combatants.
9. We urge the United Nations to launch a worldwide campaign to mobilize public opinion and build societal resistance to violence and the proliferation of small arms.
10. We call upon the international community to fully support the implementation and verification of the firm and lasting peace agreement of Guatemala of 29 December 1996.
11. We support a continuation of the dialogue and exchange of experiences between and among regions faced with the tasks of post-conflict peace-building, reintegration of former combatants and immediate measures to curb the accumulation and use of small arms.
12. We commit ourselves to the creation and strengthening of programmes for education for peace and non-violence.
13. We request the members of the Panel to include the present statement in its entirety in the report of the Secretary-General to be submitted to the General Assembly in pursuance of its resolution 50/70 B.
Dr. Daniel Garcia-Pena Jaramillo,
Special Advisor to the President
of the Republic of Colombia
Ambassador Ricardo Castaneda-Cornejo,
Permanent Representative of
El Salvador to the United Nations
Ambassador Fabiola Fuente,
Deputy Permanent Representative of
of Guatemala to the United Nations
Dr. Angel Antonio Comte Cojulun,
Director-General of National Police of Guatemala
Lieutenant Colonel Nestor Ogilvie,
Chairman, Association of Caribbean
Commissioners of Police, Grenada
Dr. Mario Castellon Duarte,
Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission
of Nicaragua to the United Nations
Dr. Alejandro Bendana,
Director, Centre for International
Dr. Carlos Augusto Herrera Rodriguez,
Superior Public Attorney of the
Republic of Panama, Panama
Call upon Afghanistan, issued at the conclusion of the third
regional workshop of the Panel of Governmental Experts on
Small Arms, held at Kathmandu on 22 and 23 May 1997
1. We, the invitees to the third regional workshop of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms associate ourselves with the joint appeal issued at Pretoria on 25 September 1996 and the statement signed in San Salvador on 17 January 1997.
2. We share the growing concern among other subregions over the globalization of crime, the transboundary movement of illicit and covert arms trade, and the operational parallelism between contraband drug deals and weapons transfers.
3. Our compelling attention in the subcontinent goes to Afghanistan which epitomizes the destabilizing consequences of the excessive accumulation, proliferation and use of small arms. Afghanistan today is the world's leading centre for unaccounted weapons, with at least 10 million in circulation within the country. Between 550 and 700 of the 1,000 stinger missiles supplied during the 1980s have simply disappeared among the rugged mountainous terrain of Afghanistan and could reemerge anywhere in the subregion or outside it. Roughly one half of the weapons constantly changing hands within Afghanistan arrived there during the cold war, mostly in state-to-state transfers. At present, nearly 60 per cent of the weapons flowing into the country is due to illicit deals involving a circuitous network of manufacturers, buyers, suppliers and distributors operating outside the control of state authority. The domestic manufacture of weapons, once considered a cottage industry in Afghanistan, is no longer as lucrative a trade in view of the cheaper and wider variety of weapons readily available from external sources.
4. The end of the cold war has not taken away the geo-strategic significance of Afghanistan, located at the outer rim of resource-rich Central Asia and a possible conduit for future supply of natural gas to the subregion. Its long, unmanned and porous territorial frontiers provide an easy inlet by which to move, sell or transfer the surplus weaponry from the countries former members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Its fiercely independent people are inclined and equipped to defend their freedom by resorting to arms when necessary. The easy availability of weapons and ammunition to rival factions in Afghanistan is a disincentive to the peaceful political settlement that is sorely overdue to resolve a two-decade-old conflict. As in other protracted internal conflicts fought with light weapons and irregular forces, civilians are the major victims in Afghanistan. Those who have fled as refugees now number 15 million. Among those who have stayed are another 21.6 million of internally displaced persons.
5. The spillover from the continuing inflow of weapons and ammunition to Afghanistan eats away at the political and social fabric of a subcontinent inhabited by one fifth of humanity. Weapons originating in Afghanistan have been used in acts of terror, subversion, criminality and banditry throughout South Asia. Harmonization of state-to-state relations is hindered by the activities of non-state actors operating at times in collusion with organized crime networks and providing financial, ideological or logistical support to each other. An alarming increase in delinquency and drug addiction is threatening to claim the energies and human resource potential of younger population in the subregion flanked by Myanmar, as the largest, and Afghanistan, as the second largest producer of opium in the world. Money raised by the sale of drugs is used to buy weapons to feed insurgencies, fight armed conflicts and commit banditry. The borderlines between political and criminal violence become blurred as precious time is lost in waiting for the overall settlement of long-standing issues which become more entangled as the search continues for a lasting resolution of problems firmly entrenched in history.
6. United in a commonly shared concern for the lives and well-being of the people of the subregion:
(a) We call upon the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms to launch a worldwide campaign to raise global consciousness of the consequences of the inflow to, and outflow of, weapons from Afghanistan;
(b) We urge the United Nations to convene an inter-Afghan forum for the preparation of a strict schedule to account for, retrieve or destroy the weapons left unaccounted for in the country;
(c) We express our earnest hope that bilaterally and severally all countries in the subregion would pool their expertise to monitor, control and apprehend criminal activity related to illicit purchase, sale and transfer of small arms;
(d) We request the Chairman of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms to append the present call in its entirety to the report of the Secretary-General to be submitted to the General Assembly in pursuance of its resolution 50/70 B.
Brigadier Muhammad S. Anam Khan,
Director General, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Dhaka
Rohan Gunaratna (Sri Lanka),
British Chevening Scholar, University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Colonel Nara Bahadur Gurung,
Royal Nepalese Army, Kathmandu
Niaz A. Naik,
Secretary General, Pakistan Security and Development Association, Islamabad
Director, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Dehli
Persons invited to the regular sessions and regional workshops
of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms
Brigadier Mujamid Alam
International Commission of Inquiry on Rwanda
Mr. Ian Anthony
Project Director, International Arms Trade
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Frosunda Solna, Sweden
Mr. Tika Ram Aryal
Under Secretary, Ministry of Defense
Mr. Rodrigo Avila
Director of National Civil Police
Mr. Durga Prasad Bhandari
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. P. Batchelor
Centre for Conflict Resolution
Cape Town, South Africa
Dr. Alejandro Bendaña
Director, Centre for International Studies
Lieutenant Colonel H. J. Boshoff
South African National Defence Force
Supr. W. Brand
Firearms Investigation Unit
South African Police Service
Colonel Peter Brandt
Embassy of Germany in Mexico
Mr. A. Burger
Central Firearms Register
South African Police Service
Dr. Jose Marinero Caceres
Ministry of External Affairs
Mr. Eduardo Calix
Ministry of External Affairs
Ambassador Ricardo G. Castaneda-Cornejo
Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations
Professor J. Cock
University of the Witwatersrand
Johannesburg, South Africa
Captain E. B. Dewey
Firearms Investigation Unit, SAPS
Dr. Timothy L. L. Dlamini
Principal Secretary, Ministry of Defence
Dr. Mario Castellon Duarte
Permanent Mission of Nicaragua to the United Nations
Mr. Lee Feinstein
Policy Planning Staff
United States Department of State
Ambassador Fabiola Fuentes Orellana
Deputy Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations
General Mohamed Nur Galal
Institute of Security Studies
Midrand, South Africa
British American Security Information Council
Mr. Francisco Gonzalez
Ministry of External Affairs
San Salvador, El Salvador
Colonel Felix Ranulfo Ramirez Gonzalez
Ministry of Defense
San Salvador, El Salvador
Mr. Rohan Gunaratna
Scholar in Residence
University of St. Andrews
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Colonel Nara Bahadur Gurung
Royal Nepalese Army
Mr. David Gutierrez
Coordinator, Movimiento Patriótico Contra la Delincuencia
Mr. Kumar P. Gyawali
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal
Mr. James Hayes
Coordinator, International Firearms Issues
Canadian Firearms Centre
Professor M. Hough
University of Pretoria
Mr. Hopelong U. Ipinge
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence
Dr. Daniel Garcia-Peña Jaramillo
Special Advisor to the President of Colombia
Senior Supervisor R. LeRoux
Central Firearms Register, SAPS
Ms. Tara Kartha
Research Officer, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
Brigadier Muhammad S. Anam Khan
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies
Mr. Michael Klare
Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies
Amherst, Massachusetts, United States of America
Messrs. Andrew Latham and Amitav Acharya
Centre for International and Strategic Studies
North York, Ontario, Canada
Colonel E. Mann
South African National Defence Force
Mr. T. Markram
Foreign Affairs Directorate, Non-proliferation and Disarmament
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Thomas Mason
National Rifle Association of America
H.E. General Jaime Guzman Morales
Minister of National Defense
Colonel Hank Morris
Head, United Nations Support Unit in El Salvador
Mr. Niaz A. Naik
Secretary General, Pakistan Security and Development Association
Major General Michael Nyambuya
Captain S. H. Norman
Deputy Minister of Defence of Sierra Leone
Lieutenant Colonel Nestor Ogilvie
Chairman, Caribbean Association of Commissioners of Police
Royal Grenada Police Force
Fort George, St. George
Mr. G. Oosthuysen
South African Institute of International Affairs
Johannesburg, South Africa
Colonel Oscar Joaquin Martinez Orellana
Ministry of Defense
Mr. Luis Alberto Padilla
Advisor for National Police, Guatemala
Mr. Tome Picasso
Ministry of National Defence
Mr. Andrew Pierre
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
H.E. Mr. Victor Lagos Pizzati
Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Jakkie Potgieter
Institute of Security Studies
Midrand, South Africa
Captain Alfredo Burgos Rivera
Ministry of Defense
Mr. Carlos Augusto Herrera Rodriguez
Superior Public Attorney of the Republic of Panama
Office of the Attorney General
Mr. Ricardo Mario Rodriguez
Vice-Chairman, Hemispheric Security Committee
Mr. Carlos Rosales
Legal Advisor for National Police, Guatemala
Dr. G. Shelton
Mr. Mohan Krishna Shrestha
Under Secretary (United Nations Division), Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Aida Veronica Siman de Betancourt
Director, Social Unit
Ministry of External Affairs
Mr. Jasjit Singh
Director, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
Mr. Chris Smith
North-South Defence and Security Programme
Mr. Michael Sullivan
Inter-American Drug Abuse and Control Commission
Mr. G. P. Thapa
Senior Superintendent of Police
Mr. Bhuban Chand Thakur
Superintendent of Police
Mr. T. P. Tsholetsane
Foreign Affairs Directorate Arms Control
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Victor Valle
Inspector General of National Civil Police
General Van der Graaf
United Nations Saharo-Sahelian Advisory Mission
General Mauricio Vargas
Presidential Commissioner for Implementation of Peace Agreements
Ministry of Defence
Mr. T. F. Wheeler
Multilateral Political Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ms. M. Wilkenson
Foreign Affairs Africa Branch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs