September 16, 2019
 In Articles

Disarmament and International Security Committee

Preventing the Illicit Arms Trade


Sreevas Ramakrishnan

Forest Hills Eastern


The illicit trade of arms are mostly present in areas affected by armed conflict, but affects the entire world as a whole. The trading of these weapons has been an ongoing threat to the world for decades, contributing to the violent crime and the proliferation of sensitive technology. Particularly troubling is the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SA/LW); these arms account for an estimated 60-90% of the 100,000+ conflict deaths each year and tens of thousands of additional deaths outside of war zones (Small Arms Survey 2005). Moreover, they serve as the weapon of choice for terrorists groups such as the Islamic State, the Taliban, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram. Of the roughly 175 terrorist attacks identified in last year’s State Department report on Patterns of Global Terrorism, approximately half were committed with small arms or light weapons. In response to this growing problem, the United Nations has implemented the Arms Trade Treaty, however, many major countries such as the United States, Russia, and China are not following this international law because it regulates the global trade of conventional arms.

In Portugal, police sources say that “modified guns are as easily accessible as any common good.” The increase in the supply of arms to terrorists risks the emergence of a “culture of violence,” which ultimately, will lead to negative effects. Armed crime could easily lead to the privatization of security and the increased spread and the use of arms as communities seek to defend themselves. The proliferation of SA/LW and their uncontrolled spread in regions of the world is a major factor to conflict, the displacement of people, and crime and terrorism. According to the National Report by Portugal, our delegation strongly supports the full implementation of the Programme of Action aimed at preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Portugal is also fully committed to the implementation of the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace in a Timely and Reliable Manner Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons.

Portugal proposes for the United Nations to further enforce international laws such as an Arms Trade Treaty to ensure the domestic and national tranquility of the people living in war-affected areas and the world as a whole. SA/LW’s are easily accessible and purchased; in response to this issue, the UN needs to propose legislation concerning the possession of these arms. To reduce the use of arms, the UN should impose stricter bans on arms and weapons of mass destruction for the overall safety of civilians. For example, in every country, background checks must be completed before the purchase of any kind of weapon. As there are few agreements and resolutions about the possession of weapons in a location, Portugal urges the UN to enforce these previously created resolutions by increasing the restrictions on the possession of arms. Portugal, though not heavily impacted by the illegal trading of arms, realizes the easy access to these lethal weapons can cause damage to the world and, specifically, a population in a war-torn area.


  • Sreevas Ramakrishnan