By Robin Gomes
According to the Holy See, “a secure world is essential for development and thus for the fight against extreme poverty,” but the “illicit trade in small arms and light weapons is an obvious threat to peace, development and security.”
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Apostolic Nuncio and Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, made the point at a June 18-29 UN Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (RevCon3).
Respect for life, human dignity
The Filipino archbishop expressed support for the “Programme of Action” (PoA) and the “International Tracing Instrument” (ITI), saying the Holy See continues to see them as vitally important steps toward, “enhanc[ing] respect for life and the dignity of the human person through the promotion of a culture of peace.”
The PoA together with the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), ITI and related regional instruments, established a principled and rules-based order for international arms control.
Archbishop Auza underscored the importance of the PoA and the ITI in creating awareness regarding preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
While stressing the importance of civil society and non-governmental organizations in this regard, the archbishop said that greater international cooperation is needed in order to severely restrict, and eradicate, the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
Archbishop Auza also made a call to combat the nefarious activities closely linked to the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, such as terrorism, trafficking in human persons, the illicit trade in drugs and other forms of organized crime.