UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Monday urged the international community to prevent the illegal trade of weapons [statement; press release], which are responsible for killing more than 500,000 people every year. The Program of Action adopted by various countries in 2001 lists recommendations for countries to bolster national legislation combating the illegal trade of weapons and improve regional and international cooperation to assist in this effort. Through this plan, manufacturers agreed to put markings on weapons during production in order to track weapons transactions across borders. Although nations enacted some measures to combat illicit arms trade, Ban says more needs to be done. In an address before the UN in New York, Ban stated:
There is still limited cooperation among States in tracking illicit arms, despite the concrete and practical measures recommended in the seven-year old International Tracing Instrument. Weapons continue to reach areas and entities under Security Council arms embargoes. And in many countries, insecure stockpiles continue to be a source of arms and ammunition for armed groups, terrorists and organized crime.Although pointing out that many nations have already taken steps to crack down on illicit small arms trade through national legislation, Ban explained that many nations still lack the resources to curtail the illegal exchange of weapons across their borders.
International arms distribution continues to trouble governments and rights groups. Last month, after four weeks of international negotiations, the deadline to approve an agreement at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty passed without consensus [JURIST report]. The proposed regulations, entitled the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), would have required the support of all 193 member states of the UN to be approved. Also in July, a spokesperson for the Secretary-General expressed concern [JURIST report] about the lack of progress being made at a UN conference to negotiate the international ATT. Earlier in July, in anticipation of the conference, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), called on the participants [JURIST report] to adopt an effective arms treaty in order to save lives and aid in the enforcement of international law. In June Amnesty International called for an end to the supply of arms [JURIST report] to groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after a report highlighted the flaws in Congolese security, which AI says leads to the availability and misuse of weapons and ammunition.