Illicit small arms and light weapons: International and EU action

13-07-2015

Small arms and light weapons (SALW) are one of the main instruments of armed violence around the world, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, with significant impact on entire societies from a humanitarian and socio-economic point of view. The international community, in particular the United Nations, has identified the proliferation and traffic of illicit SALW as an important field of action, and in this context, it has established a binding framework to prevent, combat and ultimately eradicate the illicit trade in SALW in all its aspects. The main political process – the UN Programme of Action – emerged from the disarmament and arms control agenda, while the legally binding Firearms Protocol is part of international law enforcement cooperation. Recently, the Arms Trade Treaty has made a significant addition to the efforts of regulating trade in SALW. The European Union is an active promoter of the instruments and processes aimed at fighting against illicit SALW: it has created its own policy framework on firearms and SALW, it is a staunch supporter of norms at international level and an important provider of assistance to countries around the world to deal with the illicit trade and proliferation of SALW.

Small arms and light weapons (SALW) are one of the main instruments of armed violence around the world, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, with significant impact on entire societies from a humanitarian and socio-economic point of view. The international community, in particular the United Nations, has identified the proliferation and traffic of illicit SALW as an important field of action, and in this context, it has established a binding framework to prevent, combat and ultimately eradicate the illicit trade in SALW in all its aspects. The main political process – the UN Programme of Action – emerged from the disarmament and arms control agenda, while the legally binding Firearms Protocol is part of international law enforcement cooperation. Recently, the Arms Trade Treaty has made a significant addition to the efforts of regulating trade in SALW. The European Union is an active promoter of the instruments and processes aimed at fighting against illicit SALW: it has created its own policy framework on firearms and SALW, it is a staunch supporter of norms at international level and an important provider of assistance to countries around the world to deal with the illicit trade and proliferation of SALW.