UN Security Council moves to thwart terrorists' access to weapons

United Nations
3 Aug 2017

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons and asked nations to take appropriate legal actions against those who knowingly engage in providing arms to militants. The Council "strongly condemned" the continued flow of weapons, military equipment, unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and their components, and improvised explosive device (IED) components to and between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Qaida, their affiliates, and associated groups, illegal armed groups and criminals. The Council adopted the resolution here yesterday aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons, particularly small arms and light weapons, the "destabilising accumulation and misuse of which the 15-member body said "continue to pose threats to international peace and security and cause significant loss of life".
UN Member States were encouraged to prevent and disrupt procurement networks for weapons, systems and components between and among such groups and entities. They were specifically urged to ensure the ability to take appropriate legal actions against those who are knowingly engaged in providing terrorists with weapons and to ensure proper physical security and management for stockpiles of small arms and light weapons. The resolution also encouraged the implementation of marking and tracing procedures of small arms and light weapons to improve traceability of such weapons which could be provided to terrorists through illicit trafficking. It urged member states to strengthen their judicial, law enforcement and border-control capacities, and develop their capabilities to investigate arms-trafficking networks in order to address the link between transnational organised crime and terrorism. Before the adoption of the text, leading UN officials involved in counter-terrorism, briefed the Council on the complex efforts being undertaken by multiple agencies and committees to fulfil the Organisation's promise to take an "all-of-UN" approach to tackle terrorism and prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons.
Jehangir Khan, the Officer-in-Charge of the newly created UN Counter-Terrorism Office, told Council members that "the spectre of terrorists acquiring lethal technologies and new weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, poses a serious threat to international peace and security." Welcoming the consideration of the resolution before the Council on Thursday, he said "this initiative goes to the heart of the Secretary-General's efforts to make prevention the core mission of the United Nations". Deputy Director of the UN Security Council Counter- Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), Weixiong Chen, explained how the resolution would add further tasks to CTED's mandate. Citing a wide range of vulnerabilities in the mechanism to prevent terrorists' access to weapons, he stressed the need for further efforts, such as reviewing and strengthening national legislation on countering the supply and trafficking of weapons to terrorists and preventing the flow of weapons to conflict-affected regions and conflict zones.