Vatican envoy asks UN to analyse cause of small arms race

 The Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, has for called for an investigation into why there is such a massive trade in small arms around the world. Archbishop Celestino Migliore addressed the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference to review progress made to implement the 'Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons'(SALW) in all its Aspects.' The nuncio described the conference as the most important meeting since the adoption in 2001 of the Program - which he said, was "having important repercussions on the promotion of disarmament, peace and post-conflict reconstruction, the fight against terrorism and large - and small-scale organized crime." He went on: "The 2006 conference should agree to establish major international cooperative programs and mechanisms to promote key parts of the Program of Action, which may include stockpile management and security, weapons and ammunitions collection and their safe and secure destruction, and national controls on SALW production and transfers. It would therefore be most useful to start a serious reflection on the possibility of negotiating a legally binding instrument on international arms trade ... based on the more important principles of international law." "The 2006 review conference could take useful steps to promote effective engagement on SALW, ... by launching a process enabling interested States and relevant organizations to flesh out principles, policies and programs that address the links between efforts to prevent and reduce SALW trafficking, proliferation and misuse. "Often this process has focused its attention on the supply side of arms sale," added the permanent observer. "However, if we consider both the humanitarian costs of SALW and the profound connection between them, and the process of human and sustainable development, then it becomes clear that greater attention now needs to be paid to reducing the demand for SALW. To reduce drastically the demand for small arms requires not only political will but better focused research into the dynamics of conflicts, crimes and violence. This obliges us to act responsibly to promote a real culture of peace and life among all members of society. "Adequate international norms and programs to address the question of demand are also needed urgently, as well as the implementation of educational and awareness activities through, among other things, the involvement of civil society." Source: VIS

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