Committee: Disarmament and International Security
Topic: Preventing Illicit Arms Trade
Country: Hellenic Republic
Delegate: Josephine Koch, Forest Hills Northern High School
In the post-war era, rapid advancements in armament technology, particularly with the advent of the atomic bomb in 1945, set the backdrop for the Cold War and modern arms racing. With this has come the scourge of the illicit arms trade. Over the course of the last century, the international community has struggled to cope with the destruction resulting from the trafficking of armaments. Currently, the value of the illicit arms trade is estimated to be anywhere from two million to ten million U.S. dollars. The effects of the illicit arms trade are most detrimental in unstable and developing countries. For example, the trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) wreaked havoc during the Sierra Leone Civil War, as outside actors stoked the conflict by dumping an unprecedented number of illegal arms into the country in exchange for “blood diamonds.” The UNDP recently estimated that nearly eight million SALW are present in West Africa. In light of these atrocities, the global community has taken steps to combat the illicit arms trade, through measures such as the Arms Trade Treaty, which has sought to impose international standards and limitations on the transnational arms trade, and root out illegal activity. Although the treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2013, and entered into force the following year, 105 states have yet to ratify it, and 32 of those who ratified have failed to sign.
Greece firmly believes in the importance of curbing the trafficking of arms, and affirms the role of the international community in providing a framework by which to prevent the illicit arms trade. Greece believes that arms reduction goes hand in hand with illicit arms trade prevention, and therefore affirms its support of universal arms limitations treaties, such as the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. Greece has fully embraced its commitment to such treaties, succeeding in destroying all landmines on its territory four years ahead of the established deadline. Greece also maintains its support of the Arms Trade Treaty, and urges those countries who have yet to sign or ratify the treaty to take action for the good of the global community. Only through establishing international standards that promote transparency, accountability, and stability can we hope to end the unnecessary human suffering that has resulted from the proliferation of illegal arms.
Greece holds that there is an eerie correlation between the accessibility of illicit weapons and the occurrence of violence and instability, particularly in the developing world. The prevention of the illicit arms trade, therefore, should be a priority, not only for humanitarian reasons, but also in the interest of global stability. In response to this desperate need, the international community should endorse measures such as the Arms Trade Treaty. Following the lead of ATT, let us establish regulations that promote peace and trust, rather than destruction and suspicion.
- Josephine Koch