East African Community (EAC) deputy secretary general (Political Federation) Dr Julius Rotich has expressed concern over unregulated transfer of arms amongst partner states, saying it was posing a serious threat to the region’s peace and security.
“The region is not producing arms, yet it remains awash with arms. The nexus between easy availability of arms, terrorism and piracy continue to manifest itself in the region and this remain of primary concern to region’s peace and security,” he told a high level segment of the ongoing United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in New York. The conference, which started on July 2, will stretch to July 27, this year.
He explained that the EAC region has over the years experienced and continues to experience devastating consequences of unregulated transfers, underlining that the Arms Treaty being negotiated must address the problems associated with unregulated transfers of conventional arms in all its manifestations, with sufficient safeguards guaranteeing respect to sovereignty, territorial integrity and legitimate access to related technology.
The EAC partner states, he said, are all for an ATT that includes all arms in the UN Conventional Arms Register along with Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and Ammunitions.
The easy availability of arms has facilitated among others displacement of populations, widespread human rights abuses and undermined legitimate governments, added the EAC official.
Dr Rotich was optimistic the ATT would radically alter the manner in which arms as the major security component have been managed to the advantage of enhanced global security, stability and development.
The global trade in conventional weapons – from warships and battle tanks to fighter jets and machine guns – remains poorly regulated. No set of internationally agreed standards exist to ensure that arms are only transferred for appropriate use.
Many governments have voiced concern about the absence of globally agreed rules for all countries to guide their decisions on arms transfers.
Countries have discussed the matter within the UN since 2006 and are set to come up with concrete outcome during the ATT meeting in New York expected to end on 27 July 2012.