Civilian populations are the first victims of small arms’ proliferation - 22 May 2015 [fr]
Report of the Secretary-General on small arms and light weapons - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 22 May 2015
I would like to thank the Lithuanian delegation for preparing today’s resolution 2220 (2015), on the illicit trade and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons, and to commend your and your colleagues’ unflagging efforts, Madam President, to arrive at a text that is both ambitious and pragmatic. We welcome the text’s adoption and the fact that it obtained the sponsorship of more than 50 Member States, proof of the international community’s support for this vital cause.
France voted in favour of the resolution for several reasons. It reflects an important initiative, first introduced in the Security Council two years ago by Australia, on the threat posed by the trafficking and spread of small arms. For the first time the Council considered this scourge through a cross-cutting approach, leading to our adoption of resolution 2117 (2013), which has been a reference text on the subject ever since.
The new resolution’s provisions put civilians and their protection at its core, because, of course, it is civilian populations, particularly women and children, who are the first victims of the proliferation of such weapons. They are responsible for nearly half a million deaths a year and remain by far the world’s deadliest. The resolution also highlights the role of the United Nations in implementing the Arms Trade Treaty, which marks a historic step forward and will help to strengthen international peace and security. The ability of the United Nations to act could not be allowed to fall behind. The resolution also addresses the flow of small arms that benefits armed groups, criminal networks and terrorist groups that take advantage of the lack of regulation in the area to continue their barbaric and destabilizing activities all over the world, particularly in Africa.
Lastly, today’s resolution is designed to integrate the fight against the illicit trade in small arms into every aspect of United Nations action, for which we had to mobilize not only the sanctions committees and the expert groups responsible for monitoring embargoes but also, when necessary and appropriate, our peacekeeping and special political missions. Of course, the United Nations architecture for combating terrorism also has a role to play. We hope the issue of small-arms trafficking will be systematically taken into account in the analyses of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Monitoring Team of the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities.
Madam President, during the negotiations you took the time to hear the views of every member of the Council, and I would once again like to pay tribute to you and your team for all your efforts. We would of course have preferred the text to be more ambitious in some respects, such as on the protection of civilians, and in recognizing the achievements of the Arms Trade Treaty. But a resolution is of necessity the result of compromise, and today’s is ultimately a demanding one that we are convinced will advance the Organization’s ability to fight the deadly scourge of the illicit trade in small arms.