Strengthening international action on small arms and light weapons

Media release

26 September 2013

Today the United Nations Security Council adopted Australia's resolution to strengthen international action to combat the illicit trade and misuse of small arms and light weapons.

This is the first comprehensive Security Council resolution on small arms and light weapons. It is also the first time in over five years the Council has discussed this threat in a dedicated way.

The resolution was adopted during a Security Council meeting, chaired by Ms Bishop in Australia's capacity as Council President for the month of September.

Australia's resolution includes provisions to strengthen implementation of Security Council arms embargoes, better secure and manage arms stockpiles, focus the role of peacekeeping missions to combat small arms threats, and improve the UN's ability and capacity to tackle these challenges.

This resolution builds on the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty in April this year by an overwhelming majority of the United Nations General Assembly.

It also reflects Australia's longstanding advocacy of disarmament and arms control issues, as well as our experience in, and support for, peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.

In adopting the resolution, Ms Bishop reiterated the Government's commitment to addressing the illicit trade and misuse of small arms and weapons in the Asia Pacific region.

"Australia has worked with our regional neighbours and the UN system to build States' capacities to collect and destroy weapons, improve weapons stockpile management and train police and armed forces in weapons management, including in Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands."

"Illicit arms and weapons fuel conflict around the world, including in the vast majority of country situations and regions on the Council's agenda. These arms and weapons are linked to terrorism, piracy and transnational organised crime. They are an impediment to peacebuilding efforts everywhere, and pose threats to civilians, peacekeepers, aid workers and civil society organisations who are rebuilding broken societies."

Speech: High Level Meeting Small Arms: the impact of the illicit transfer, destabilising accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons on international peace and security.

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