Vatican calls for eradication of illegal arms trade

.- Speaking to a group at the United Nations yesterday, the Vatican’s Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer to the U.N. called illicit arms trade a threat to peace, development and security and voiced the Holy See’s desire to bring it and related activities to an end. The archbishop delivered yesterday’s speech to the "Second Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects."

"The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons”, Archbishop Migliore said, “is an obvious threat to peace, development and security…That is why the Holy See adds its voice to the calls for a common approach, not only towards the illicit trade in small arms but also to related activities.“

“Furthermore,” he added, “as well as considering the illicit offer of arms, we must also be mindful of the dynamics of the demand for arms."

The Vatican observer also brought another of the Holy See’s concerns to the table asking for weight to be given to “the special needs of children affected by armed conflict, as described in the Plan of Action.”

“Children”, he said, “need to be considered in programs of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) in post-conflict situations, in peace-keeping and peace-building, and in development programs, through community-based approaches."

Archbishop Migliore said that the meeting served "to review the realization of the Plan of Action and see if it is still the cornerstone it should be of the new international legal framework for the control of small arms and light weapons.”

He added that "the international community would do well to consider seriously a debate on the creation of an arms trade treaty, based on the best principles of international law on human rights and humanitarian law. Such an instrument could help contribute to the eradication of the illicit arms trade, while underlining the responsibility of States to reinforce the Plan of Action under discussion today."


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