Breaking

New Project to Address Link Between Terrorism, Arms and Crime

It is widely acknowledged that the connection between terrorism and organized crime, including illicit small arms and light weapons trafficking is a serious threat to international peace and security, an obstacle to sustainable development and a menace to the rule of law.
22 Feb 2020 11:29
Weapons enable terrorist groups to considerably increase their capabilities
Cheap and easily accessible small arms are increasingly becoming the weapon of choice for many terrorist groups, the UN counter-terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov has said as nations unveiled a project to raise awareness of the nexus between terrorism, organized crime and illicit small arms trafficking.  

It is widely acknowledged that the connection between terrorism and organized crime, including illicit small arms and light weapons trafficking is a serious threat to international peace and security, an obstacle to sustainable development and a menace to the rule of law.

To illustrate the challenges, Voronkov, who is also Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), revealed estimates indicating that the African continent alone has one hundred million uncontrolled small arms and light weapons concentrated in crises zones and security-challenged environments.  

“With an estimated population of 1.2 billion in Africa, this is an unfortunate and significant ratio of one to 12”, he lamented, and added that without a strong international response, terrorists and criminals would easily be able to move illicit weapons from one country or region to another. 

“Insufficient international response in countering the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, the challenges that the Member States face to detect and seize them, as well as porous borders, allow terrorists and criminals to move illicit weapons from one country or region to another,” Voronkov said.  

The UNOCT chief illustrated this through the example that illicit weapons originating from Libya were finding their way into the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel.

He said that the new project funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation will address the terrorism-arms crime nexus, by enhancing criminal justice responses to prevent and combat the illicit trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons and to disrupt the illicit supply of such arms to terrorist groups.

It will be co-implemented in 2020/2021 by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre of the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, through its Global Firearms Programme and in collaboration with the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs

In her video statement, UNODC Executive Director Ghada Fathi Waly affirmed her Office’s unique approach to addressing the complex interlinked challenges of terrorism, crime and corruption.  She singled out adequate legal frameworks, strengthening law enforcement and criminal justice capacity, improving data and addressing cooperation gaps, saying that it is essential to deal effectively with threats that no country can face alone.  

Meanwhile, Weixiong Chen, the Deputy Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate pointed out that the new initiative is one of the important requirements of several relevant Security Council resolutions. 

Citing five resolutions, he noted that the Council has repeatedly stressed the importance to prevent terrorist access to weapons”. 

The launch also introduced the new project’s activities, including missions to assess regional situations, relevant legislation and response capacities to the threat posed by firearms trafficking, terrorism and related crimes.

Images 1