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UN will not fully restore Somalia arms embargo

The UN Security Council [official website] announced Wednesday that a 10 year old arms embargo against Somalia will not be fully restored after its expiration in March. In 2013, the security council voted to partially lift [Reuters report] the embargo, allowing the Somalian government to purchase small arms to defend against Islamist forces. This year, reports indicated that the Somalian government was abusing the less restrictive embargo by diverting weapons to militants linked to al-Qaeda [JURIST news archive]. Sources report that the eased restrictions are set to expire in early March, whereupon the fully restrictive embargo will go back into force without UN intervention. The security council reportedly plans to continue parts of the less restrictive embargo, while increasing reporting requirements for certain arms purchases.

The illegal flow of weapons to militant groups continues to be an international problem. In February 2009 Amnesty International (AI) called for the UN to place an arms embargo [JURIST report] on Israel and Hamas, responding to the UN's report that both parties used foreign-supplied weapons during the recent fighting in Gaza. The UN found that weapons from more than 20 countries were used during the Gaza conflict, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of children and other civilians. In December 2008 the UN Security Council added [JURIST report] the name of a Pakistani charity seen as a front for the group being blamed for the Mumbai terror attacks to its list of entities subject to asset freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo as a terrorist organization. In November 2008 former Argentine President Carlos Menem was formally charged [JURIST report] with illegally trafficking arms to Croatia and Ecuador, contrary to a 1991 UN embargo against Croatia and a 1995 Organization of American States (OAS) ban on selling arms to Ecuador.

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