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Trade in Small Arms

European Parliament resolution on small arms

B5-0723, 0729 and 0730/2001

European Parliament resolution on small arms

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to its resolutions of 19 January 1995(1), 15 January 1998(2), 14 May 1998(3), 7 October 1999(4), 5 October 2000(5) and 15 March 2001(6) on an EU Code of Conduct on the export or transfer of arms and the resolution adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Assembly on 21 April 1998,

-  having regard to the Joint Action adopted by the Council on the European Union's contribution to combating the destabilising accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons,

A.  affirming the urgent need for more effective regulation of legal and illicit arms transfers in the wake of the tragic events of 11 September 2001, in order to cut off lines of supply to terrorist organisations and to tightly control transfers to governments that abuse human rights and regions of conflict and instability,

B.  welcoming the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects as an important first step in the international effort to reduce the immense human suffering caused by the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons,

C.  convinced that early and effective action by all States to implement the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects will result in significant progress towards this end,

D.  noting with satisfaction the commitment contained in the Programme of Action for all States to assess applications for export authorizations according to strict national regulations and procedures that cover all small arms and light weapons and are consistent with States' existing responsibilities under relevant international law; welcoming the commitment to strengthen agreed norms or measures at the global, regional or national levels,

E.  concerned that in some areas the Programme of Action does not provide for all of the international mechanisms necessary to address all aspects of the problem, particularly in the areas of arms brokering and international arms transfers and noting further, in this context, the need to establish effective controls on the transfer and use of all categories of conventional weaponry,

F.  gravely concerned with the lack of effective national and international controls on arms transfers and on arms brokering, arms financiers and transporters and the inadequacy of national and regional efforts to tackle this global issue,

1.  Calls on the Presidency-in-Office of the Council to appoint a Contact Group of States to pave the way for negotiations on a legally binding international instrument regulating the activities of arms brokering;

2.  Calls on all States to start early negotiations on a legally binding international instrument on arms brokering and conclude such negotiations prior to the 2006 conference;

3.  Urges Member States and Associated States to adopt legislation requiring registration and licensing of arms brokers, including manufacturing, importing, exporting, transferring, and facilitating transfers by mediating financing, or arranging financial transactions, transportation, and freight forwarding between a supplier and a recipient of arms;

4.  Calls on Member States and Associated States to prosecute violators of such requirements, as well as violators of UN, EU and other regional and national arms embargoes, and include such violations among extraditable offences in the modified extradition treaties;

5.  Encourages Member States and Associated States to compile and publish a list of convicted violators and to exchange information with other governments and international law enforcement agencies about potential or suspected illicit brokering activities, to exchange information, and provide mutual legal assistance to authorities involved in the criminal investigations of, or proceedings against, illicit brokering activities;

6.  Calls on Member States to bring all national and regional control systems for the export of armaments into line with States" existing responsibilities under international law, and to take steps towards the negotiation of a legally binding instrument setting out norms and procedures for the international transfer of armaments, based on existing responsibilities under international law;

7.  Requests the Presidency-in-Office of the Council to take immediate steps to open discussions with interested States on the agreement of a legally binding convention on international arms transfers and to keep the Parliament informed about progress made in this area;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States and of the candidate countries.


(1) OJ C 43, 20.2.1995, p. 89.
(2) OJ C 34, 2.2.1998, p. 163.
(3) OJ C 167, 1.6.1998, p. 226.
(4) OJ C 107, 13.4.2000, p. 103.
(5) OJ C 178, 22.6.2001, p. 273.
(6) Text Adopted, Item 20.



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