On 26 September 2013, the UN Security Council adopted its first Resolution on small arms. Testament to the many years of work and advocacy of IANSA women in recent years is that the Resolution includes a separate provision highlighting the need to implement relevant obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in the field of small arms control.
The Security Council held a high-level meeting on small arms chaired by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia. It is the first formal Council meeting on small arms since 30 April 2008 (S/PV.5881 and Resumption 1). More importantly although the Council in the past has adopted several presidential statements on this issue, it will be its first ever resolution on small arms.
We are pleased to share with you Resolution 2117 (2013) adopted by the Security Council at its 7036th meeting, on 26 September 2013 which notes the significance of small arms and light weapons as the most frequently used weapons in the majority of recent armed conflicts.
It refers to gun violence and its 'disproportionate impact on violence perpetrated against women and girls, and exacerbating sexual and gender-based violence'. This is language which IANSA women have long used to highlight the effects of gun violence on women and girls worldwide in addition to our call to relate small arms control to UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
The Resolution also calls for further measures to facilitate women’s full and meaningful participation in all policy making, planning and implementation processes to combat and eradicate the illicit transfer, destabilising accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. It also calls for those planning disarmament initiatives to engage with women and provide for their full access to these programmes through consultation with civil society, including women’s organisations.
Negotiations on the text of the draft resolution began more than two weeks ago and have been intense, with Council experts meeting almost daily. In the end, it seems all the key elements proposed by Australia in the initial draft made it through to the final text, although discussions at times were difficult and a few members had reservations about several issues.
The draft resolution as agreed focuses on the illicit transfer, destabilising accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons and aims to support the existing normative framework in this area. It also outlines practical steps to strengthen Council response to small arms-related threats to international peace and security. It builds on and incorporates agreed language from previous presidential statements on this issue and also reflects some of the recommendations from the Secretary-General’s report.
Among other things, the draft covers obligations of states to fully comply with Council-mandated arms embargos and take appropriate action while also expressing the Council’s intention to monitor and strengthen the implementation of such embargoes; emphasises the role of UN peacekeeping operations in assisting with the implementation and monitoring of arms embargoes, and in capacity-building for host governments; encourages information sharing and cooperation among relevant actors; and calls on states to support efforts related to weapons collection, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programs as well as stockpile management.
The draft resolution also recognises the impact of small arms on the protection of civilians and reminds parties to conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, emphasising in particular the need to protect humanitarian personnel and facilitate humanitarian access. Moreover, it includes a separate provision highlighting the need to implement relevant obligations under resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in the small arms context and to take into account the special needs of children.
Finally, the draft encourages states to accede to the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its protocols, urges states to consider signing and ratifying the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) adopted by the General Assembly on 2 April 2013 (A/RES/67/234 B) and stresses the importance of implementing the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.