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European Parliament Resolution
on uncontrolled trade in light weapons



European Parliament resolution on the UN Conference on illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects to be held in July 2001

The European Parliament,

  1. noting with concern that the illegal spread and the misuse of small arms continue to undermine development and  respect for human rights,

  2. welcoming the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects as the first global initiative to tackle what has become internationally recognised as a serious humanitarian challenge,

  3. recognising that the UN Preparatory Committee of March 2001 will be of crucial importance for the success of the July Conference,

  4. welcoming the EU's preparation for the UN Conference, including the Plan of Action adopted by Disarmament Group CODUN in 2000 and presented to the UN Preparatory Committee,

  5. welcoming efforts already undertaken within the framework of other regional organisations and arrangements, such as the OSCE, the OAS and SADC, in particular the OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the negotiation of the Protocol against the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts and components, and ammunition, and the Bamako declaration of 52 Member States of the Organisation of African Unity on small arms and light weapons,

  6. noting that states' obligations under international law relating to the transfer and use of small arms and light weapons are numerous and include inter alia the prohibition on transfers that would be used to commit serious violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law,

  7. recalling its view that restrictive export criteria, effective common mechanisms for the monitoring of end-use agreements, control of licensing agreements, binding rules to control arms brokering, and a maximum of transparency and parliamentary scrutiny of arms export policies, are all indispensable elements of a responsible and effective regime of arms export controls,


  1. Calls on all UN Member States, and on the EU Member States in particular, to consider the fight against the spread of illegal small arms and light weapons as a priority and to make a constructive contribution to the success of the UN Conference;

  2. Further urges the EU to ensure the inclusion of the following elements in the Programme of Action to be adopted at the July Conference:

  1. Urges the UN members to agree on concrete measures to  ensure and monitor the implementation of the Programme of Action to be agreed in July and to agree concrete measures for follow-up, such as mechanisms to ensure regular monitoring and reviews of progress, a review conference no later than 2004 and annual reports by governments on their implementation of the Programme of Action;

  2. Further calls on the Member States to continue their support for the close involvement of non-governmental organisations in the UN Conference and the March PrepCom meeting;

  3. Encourages UN Member States to develop a binding code of conduct at the national and regional level including  the prohibition of arms transfers to government and non-state perpetrators that systematically violate human rights or international humanitarian law;

  4. Urges the Council to include in its dialogue on arms export with third countries the desirability of adhering to a code of conduct, such as that of the European Union;

  5. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the UN Secretary General.



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