Ratification Of The Arms Trade Treaty3542 27 Jun, 2013
RATIFICATION OF THE ARMS TRADE TREATY
Ms. Selman: I rise on behalf of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to offer our support to the motion titled, “Ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty”, moved by the Hon. Minister Mrs. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett. The Arms Trade Treaty is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional arms. The Arms Trade Treaty is predicated upon a hypothesis that the illicit trade in small arms is a serious challenge which requires global action through the United Nations. The signing of the Arms Trade Treaty is timely. In all parts of the world the readily availability of weapons and ammunitions has led to human suffering, crime and terrorism among civilian populations. Research has shown that those suffering most are civilians trapped in situations of armed violence in situation of both crime and conflict, often in conditions of poverty, deprivation and extreme human inequality where they are, more often than not, on the receiving end of the misuse of arms by state-armed security forces.
As a result of the irresponsible transfers of conventional weapons, we, here in Guyana, witnessed a pattern of unlawful killings of undetermined number of persons, including assassinations, executions and other forms of criminal violence, during a period of troubles at Agricola, Eccles, Bartica, Buxton, Lusignan and other parts of Guyana. Our experience has taught us that the irresponsible transfer of weapons can destabilise security in our country and create a climate of fear in society. We have been there.
According to studies in peace and conflict resolution, the relative importance of diversion or misuse of officially authorised transfers compared to international illegal black market trafficking has been thoroughly confirmed and the author here goes on to elaborate that for most developing or fragile states a combination of weak domestic authorised firearms possession with theft, lost or corrupt sale tends to be a big source.
The fact that Guyana being among the first set of nations to sign the treaty is a clear indication of our willingness and determination to address the poorly regulated international arms trade. Guyana must be commended for signing the Arms Trade Treaty. It is a step in the right direction, but mere words on a piece of paper is meaningless unless they are implemented. For the treaty to be effective it would require for us to establish national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms and components to regulate the trade.
While we applaud the existence of the treaty we are concerned about the numerous weaknesses which are contained therein. A closer examination of the treat in its entirety will bear this out. The impact of the treat will depend on how stringently the treaty is implemented once it comes into force. We must continue to show our commitment of arms control by ensuring that we implement the necessary enabling regulations.
The questions, which loom, are: How does Guyana intend to follow up on this? Are we going to set up a national commission on small arms to ensure that arms imported into our country are used responsibly? Are we going to establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list of weapons and items imported? If we do then we are certainly going to be on the right track. We have to be mindful too that we do not sign and ratify treaties and then honour them in the breach.
Our citizens have been and continue to be the victims of human rights abuses notwithstanding that we are signatories to existing human rights conventions, such as the International Convention on Torture. If a nation cannot maintain democratic law and order it will not be able to maintain the Arms Trade Treaty. It is time that we demonstrate, by our actions, that we do have the political will to give meaning to treaties to which we are signatories.
I wish, on behalf of A Partnership for National Unity, to applaud the leaders of humanity who would have had the wisdom to put principles before prophets and enable a future in which we can have more peace.
I wish to support the motion in its entirety. Thank you. [Applause]
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