UN disarmament chief urges member states to enforce arms embargoes

UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, has urged Member States to redouble efforts and enforce arms embargoes, saying the level of violations “remain concerning”.

Nakamitsu made the while briefing the Security Council on Wednesday the UN headquarters in New York.

She said the Security Council should call on them to report on the steps they have taken to implement relevant measures and to cooperate and share information with the sanctions expert panels.

Nakamitsu was briefing the Security Council on the threat posed by illicit flows of small arms and light weapons in the context of UN peacekeeping operations. 

According to her, these arms “remain a defining factor in undermining peace and security” and have “deeply aggravated situations for populations already suffering from conflict”.

Where there is a UN peacekeeping presence, this threat can exacerbate conflict, render arms embargoes ineffective, endanger ‘blue helmets’, humanitarian workers and local populations, and complicate peace agreements.

Nakamitsu pointed to a growing number of resolutions that take account of weapons and ammunition management, saying it “is indicative of the UN’s role in supporting to the control of those weapons to build and sustain peace”.

She highlighted the threat of inadequately maintained stockpiles, saying they constitute “serious humanitarian hazards and are a known source of weapons diversion”. 

The high representative also encouraged the Council to include this issue as part of conflict prevention measures.

Nakamitsu told Council Members that “children continue to bear the brunt of armed conflict”, often enabled and prolonged by the widespread availability of weapons.

“Thus, all small arms and light weapons control initiatives should be carried out with due attention to their potential impacts on children’s rights and vice versa,” she added. 

She also highlighted new related that warrant the attention of the Security Council and Member States.

Emerging technologies that allow the production of small arms “ pose novel challenges and opportunities to the effectiveness of small arms control measures,” she said, and “should be seriously considered”.

She pointed to a shift in arms purchases, in particular their parts and components, through the so-called Darknet and online platforms, resulting in a significant increase in the of postal and courier services, making detection and criminal investigations more difficult. (NAN)