The UN disarmament chief on Wednesday warned that the destabilizing accumulation, illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons continue to initiate, sustain and exacerbate armed conflict and pervasive crime.
Izumi Nakamitsu, UN undersecretary-general of disarmament affairs, told the Security Council that small arms and light weapons are “the weapons of choice” in intra-state conflicts and for terrorism, organized crime and gang warfare.
She noted current and past crises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Mali, which all “have been aggravated by the widespread availability and uncontrolled flow of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition.”
She said that currently nine UN peacekeeping and political missions across the globe address conventional weapons-related issues, including small arms and light weapons control and weapons and ammunition management.
In situations of conflict and post-conflict, she said, the majority of acts of violence are carried out with small arms and light weapons.
Also, with an estimated 1 billion small arms in circulation worldwide, the use of these weapons in lethal violence, whether in conflict or non-conflict settings, is prevalent, she said.
With regard to the source of illicit weapons, Nakamitsu said diversion remains a major source of weapons and their ammunition for gangs, criminal organizations and terrorist groups.
She explained that those weapons and their ammunition originate from poorly-managed state-owned stockpiles and battlefield capture or loss following state collapse.
Moreover, she cautioned there are also ample diversion opportunities along the supply-chain from manufacture through end-use.
Illicit arms flows and possession have been causing serious security problems in the Sahel, parts of Central Africa, Libya, South Sudan and Haiti, she said. Enditem