• The UN firearms protocol: considerations for the UN 2001 conference.

      O'Callaghan, G.; Meek, S. (British American Security Information Council (BASIC), International Alert and Saferworld., 2001)
      Since April 1998, the Vienna-based UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice has been negotiating the draft Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition (hereafter referred to as the Firearms Protocol). This Protocol will be the first global measure regulating international transfers of small arms and light weapons, and should have a tremendous impact on both the legal and the illicit manufacture and trade in firearms. The draft agreement seeks to combat and criminalise trafficking in firearms, through the development of harmonised international standards governing the manufacture, possession and transfer of commercial shipments of these weapons. While the final outcome of the Protocol relies on the outcome of negotiations in February 2001, the draft agreement contains provisions which commit states, among other things, to: l Adopt legislative measures to criminalise the illicit manufacture, trafficking, possession and use of firearms; l Maintain detailed records on the import, export and in-transit movements of firearms; l Adopt an international system for marking firearms at the time of manufacture and each time they are imported; l Establish a harmonised licensing system governing the import, export, in-transit movement and re-export of firearms; l Exchange information regarding authorised producers, dealers, importers and exporters, the routes used by illicit traffickers, best practice in combating trafficking in order to enhance states ability to prevent, detect and investigate illicit trafficking; l Co-operate at the bilateral, regional and international level to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms; and l Consider developing systems to require arms brokers, traders and forwarders to register and obtain licences for their transactions. The Protocol places a premium on international co-operation, information exchange and transparency. The provisions in the Firearms Protocol are an important complement to those being developed for the UN 2001 Conference. Issues such as improving the ability to trace small arms and light weapons through effective marking systems, regulating the activities of arms brokers and building international norms on the responsible disposal of surplus small arms are common to both initiatives.