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Old December 7, 1999, 12:55 AM   #1
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SEPT. 24, 1999

The proliferation, misuse and excessive accumulation of small arms and light
weapons is a direct concern for the Security Council. I would like to thank
the Netherlands for taking this initiative today to focus the Council's
attention on this critical issue.

Last week, the Council took up the SecretaryGeneral's Report on the
Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. It is a blueprint for making the
security of people a central part of the Council's work. This was Canada's
goal in asking the Council to request this report last February. Protecting
civilians is literally impossible without stemming the flow of small arms.

Today, such arms are the principal tools of war used to kill, maim and
terrorize people mostly innocent and mostly civilian. In the past decade
alone, 46 of the 49 conflicts that have beset our world have been carried out
primarily or exclusively through the use of small arms and light weapons. The
impact on civilians has been devastating.

Consider these facts: civilians constitute over 80 percent of casualties in
armed conflict today; more than 1 million people die each year from these
conflicts 90 percent of which are caused by small arms. Estimating
conservatively, this means that more than 700 000 civilian deaths a year are
directly attributable to small arms. These are truly small arms of mass

Their widespread availability has made it easier to fight, multiplying the
human costs in civil and ethnic disputes. Small arms are simple to use and
light to carry, lowering the barrier for violence and terror. They make it
easy for corrupt governments and warlords to transform innocent children into
chillingly efficient killing machines. They endanger international military,
police and humanitarian assistance workers whose very jobs it is to help
those victimized by conflict.

These arms make economic development impossible. The challenges of
controlling them are complex, but come down to a question of supply and
demand, and frankly, the political courage to act. The demand for small arms
is fuelled by those whose ambitions perpetrate human misery. They are aided
and abetted by the dubious business interests that profit from the
marketplace of conflict.

One of the failures of globalization is that it has permitted the creation of
a new war economy where, in exchange for diamonds and other natural
resources, certain corporations provide warlords with the financial resources
they need to operate money that is funnelled back to yet other dubious
businesses that are only too happy to make their profit through the illicit
arms trade. These companies must look beyond narrow, shortterm interests and
start to appreciate the real impact of this trade on the lives of people. In
other words, they must become part of the solution.

There are encouraging steps.

Canada and a number of other members of the Wassenaar Arrangement have worked
to ensure that their members would respect the ECOWAS [Economic Community of
West African States] moratorium on small arms and light weapons. This is what
I mean by responsible behaviour. When a group of countries has the courage to
say "no" to small arms, we must have the decency to respect their decision.

We also need to think of new ways to approach the problem of small arms.
Small arms are ubiquitous, but they are useless without ammunition. We should
consider how we might track, control or mark ammunition as one way of
controlling the lethal effect of these weapons. We should look at unilateral
actions such as the destruction of surplus stocks. South Africa did it
because they had the foresight to know they had to destroy these weapons
before they could kill.

Clearly, the approach must be both comprehensive and systematic. That was the
conclusion of the UN Group of Experts on Small Arms. As a result, a proposal
is on the table at this General Assembly to convene a conference on the
Illicit trade in small arms in 2001. Canada strongly supports this proposal.
We want it to make a real difference. So, we need to use the conference, and
more importantly, the time between now and then, to change our thinking and
to change behaviour.

Canada is ready to host a preparatory meeting to bring a practical focus to
this work. However, we cannot wait until 2001 to take action. The need is too
urgent. Rather, 2001 should be an opportunity to take stock of results and to
plan the way ahead. But to get results, we need to start now.

Canada believes that we should take a practical approach to this problem.
That is why we have supported microdisarmament in Mozambique and El Salvador;
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration [DDR] efforts in Sierra Leone;
and elaborating a firearms protocol within ECOSOC [UN Economic and Social

Even in NATO, we have called on new members to ensure that their
modernization efforts do not result in an unwanted flow of arms to other
regions, and we have served notice to wouldbe members that their behaviour in
this regard will be factored into enlargement decisions. The fact is, on
small arms, small steps often yield big dividends.

Earlier this week, Canada and Norway hosted a meeting of microdisarmament
practitioners from Sierra Leone, El Salvador, Mozambique and Albania. The
purpose was to share experiences and identify how governments and other
agents can work to support them. Their experiences were both compelling and
encouraging. Above all, they emphasized that in order to be effective,

DDR needs to be well planned and well coordinated, within the UN system and
with others who may be involved. Most importantly, it needs the full support
of the parties most directly affected. More active measures to limit the use
of these deadly weapons, to prevent the need for DDR in the first place,
would be even better.

To this end, the Council must inform itself about the abuse of small arms and
military weapons in its examination of individual conflicts, and must make
redressing those abuses the centerpiece of its efforts to restore stability.

Where appropriate, the Council should impose arms embargoes and other
sanctions, targeting the illicit trades that pay for these weapons. Most
importantly, the Council must not merely call for, but rather must ensure,
full and effective implementation of these measures. This is the impetus
behind Canada's efforts as Chair of the Angola Sanctions Committee to choke
the illegal diamond revenues that fuel UNITA's war effort; to reduce access
to the petroleum sources that make it possible to operate their war machine;
and, perhaps most importantly, to curtail acquisition of the weapons that
make the continuation of this murderous war possible.

If we are successful in curbing the flow of diamonds, it will help the
Security Council to devise models that might apply to other conflicts. In
this context, efforts to control the spread of small arms call for a shift in
the way we apply sanctions.

Comprehensive sanctions cannot and must not be used as a way of doing peace
and security on the cheap. Sanctions are a blunt instrument. And as we know,
blunt instruments hurt but not always the ones they are intended to hurt. We
need to make sanctions razor sharp. They should be pointed at the
perpetrators of conflict they are the ones who should suffer, not innocent

Clearly, the means are within our grasp to operationalize an agenda for
action against small arms:

The Council can act in the ways I've outlined: on sanctions, peace operation
mandates and DDR programs;
The General Assembly can reinforce and push the Council to implement the
resolutions it has passed and to do more;
Regional organizations can reinforce stability and security with arrangements
on illicit and licit trade and trafficking in these weapons;
Individual member states can act to ensure that they have the legal framework
in place to control the import and export of small arms and to destroy those
weapons surplus to their legitimate needs;
NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] and civil society can work in
partnership with governments to promote implementation of measures designed
to enhance individual security by curbing the spread and use of small weapons
and working to build societies that see no value in the illegal possession
and use of arms.

Small arms are a big problem. Diverse in nature, they demand a range of
responses: political, practical, financial, technical and cultural. We should
pledge here to achieve a global division of labour to fight on all fronts
from the Security Council to individual governments to the level of community
organizations to address the menace of small arms.

If we work together, with determination, I believe we may succeed.

Thank you.

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes" RKBA!

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Old December 7, 1999, 02:28 PM   #2
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Mr. Axworthy speaks of "the misuse of small arms", a situation that certainly exists.

One is given to note however, that he speaks from the security and comfort of The Canadian Foreign Ministry, replete with guards and all manner of "security" paid for by Canadian citizens, whom he would likely NOT trust with small arms. Even stranger, or isn't it at all strange, he fails to mention the quite legitimate DEFENSIVE value of small arms/light weapons, in the hands of civilians.

Of course, people who enjoy the benefits of publically supplied "security" frequently display a similar distrust for Mr. Everyman.

As Shakespere once observed, "Me thinks she doth to much protest her innosence.
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Old December 7, 1999, 04:06 PM   #3
Jack 99
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I wonder how many people have died, unarmed and terrified, waiting for the UN to come "save" them? May the spirits of those poor, disarmed, impotent, human fodder haunt this Socialist nitwit, Lloyd Axworthy, until the end of his days.

Thanks, but I'll keep my guns, and my only hope to defend myself and my family.

What did Socrates say? Something like "only the dead have seen the end of war." More true today than ever. These brain-dead UN utopianists need to be dropped into a hot-zone unarmed for a week. Bet their whole elitist attitude toward disarmament would get modified real quick.

"Put a rifle in the hands of a Subject, and he immediately becomes a Citizen." -- Jeff Cooper

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Old December 7, 1999, 08:22 PM   #4
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"... Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration [DDR]..."

Didn't we just get *rid* of one DDR (when the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain fell)?

Time for a little "Liberty Spray" to De-louse, De-bug, and Reclaim (DDR) our Rights.

[This message has been edited by Dennis (edited December 07, 1999).]
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Old December 8, 1999, 03:38 AM   #5
Art Eatman
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"These arms make economic development impossible."

I guess that's why the US is such a poverty-stricken, no-technology, low standard-of-living country, right?

It's obvious that his lobotomy was successful.

Urp!, Art
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Old December 8, 1999, 04:14 AM   #6
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I didn't read the whole thing. I can hardly stomach it. But I did read enough to wonder...

How does keeping guns away from these civilians make them any less vulnerable to terrorization?

Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.
Nehemiah 4:17,18
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Old December 9, 1999, 01:19 PM   #7
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My favorite part is "These are truly small arms of mass destruction."

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Old December 9, 1999, 01:27 PM   #8
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"Small arms of mass destruction."

I don't know if that's funny or not. It makes my head hurt just trying to understand that logic.

Soooo, lessee: 3 rifles, 2 shotguns, 3 pistols, all in different calibers... yep, I could destroy a small country all by my lonesome. As long as the locals don't have guns of their own, of course.

"Small arms of mass destruction." Yeah, whatever.

(could someone come up with an emoticon for rolling eyes?)

"The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it."
-- John Hay, 1872
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Old December 10, 1999, 04:34 AM   #9
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My favorite part is where the li'l socialist wants to combat the ubiquitousness of small arms by regulating... ammunition, which makes small arms look rare by comparison.

"How stupid can you be?"

"How stupid do you want me to be?"

"In many ways we are treated quite like men." Erich Maria Remarque
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