Small Arms: Undermining Security and The Rule of Law

“Illicit flows of small arms and light weapons undermine security and the rule of law. They are often a factor behind the forced displacement of civilians and massive human rights violations.”

While Weapons of Mass Destruction and their impact on a global scale hang over the heads of governments and its citizens, small arms are still being traded amongst countries producing arms, and organizations willing to buy them – and, as it were, these organizations sometimes lead small arms into the hands of terrorist or extremist groups.

“Small arms” have no universally accepted definition – something to keep in mind while entering committee – but a simple definition includes “revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, assault rifles, sub-machine guns and light machine guns”. Small arms are dangerous because they can be amassed, used easily, and can arm an army with funds amassed by terrorist organizations, or even militaries of countries planning an offensive assault.

A big factor behind small arms is their flow, regulation, and trafficking. Since many are sold illegally, in the black market, or without a country’s civilian’s knowledge, it is hard to set up a regulatory system, while also keeping in mind a country’s right to sovereignty. There have been treaties signed, such as the Firearms Protocol, calling upon member states to work together to eradicate this illicit behavior. Keep in mind: how effective has this Protocol been? What factors could have contributed to its effectiveness, and how can you use this information when working towards resolution?

The Arms Trade Treaty has also been instated to regulate the flow of small arms to protect innocent civilians from unnecessary conflict. It would be beneficial to look at the countries participating in this Treaty, as well as how effective it has been since its deadline for ratification/accession draws near.

 

References

https://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/salw/

https://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/att/

http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/weapons-and-markets/definitions.html

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