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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 52, November 2000

OSCE Document on Small Arms

' [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons,' FSC.DOC/1/00; adopted at the 308th Plenary Meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation, Vienna, November 24, 2000; approved at the 8th Ministerial Council of the OSCE, Vienna, November 27-28, 2000.

Note: the full text of the Document is available on the OSCE website, http://www.osce.org.

Section I: General Aims and Objectives

"1. The participating states recognize that the excessive and destabilizing accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms are problems that have contributed to the intensity and duration of the majority of recent armed conflicts. They are of concern to the international community because they pose a threat and a challenge to peace, and undermine efforts to ensure an indivisible and comprehensive security.

2. The participating states agree to co-operate to address these problems and to do so in a comprehensive way. Reflecting the OSCE' concept of co-operative security and working in concert with other international fora, they agree to develop norms, principles and measures covering all aspects of the issue. These include manufacture, the proper marking of small arms, accurate sustained record keeping, export control criteria, transparency about transfers (i.e. commercial and non-commercial imports and exports) of small arms through effective national export and import documentation and procedures. All of these are essential elements of any response to the problems, as are the proper national management and security of stockpiles coupled with effective action to reduce the global surplus of small arms. They also agree that the problem of small arms should be an integral part of the OSCE' wider efforts in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.

3. In particular, the participating states commit themselves to:

(i) Combat illicit trafficking in all its aspects through the adoption and implementation of national controls on small arms, including manufacture, proper marking and accurate sustained record-keeping (both of which contribute to improving the traceability of small arms), effective export control, border and customs mechanisms, and through enhanced co-operation and information exchange among law enforcement and customs agencies at international, regional and national levels;

(ii) Contribute to the reduction, and prevention of, the excessive and destabilizing accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms, taking into account legitimate requirements for national and collective defence, internal security and participation in peacekeeping operations under the Charter of the United Nations or in the framework of the OSCE;

(iii) Exercise due restraint to ensure that small arms are produced, transferred and held only in accordance with legitimate defence and security needs as outlined in 3(ii) above, and in accordance with appropriate international and regional export criteria, in particular as provided for in the OSCE document on Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers adopted by the Forum for Security Co-operation on November 25, 1993;

(iv) Build confidence, security and transparency through appropriate measures on small arms;

(v) Ensure that, in line with its comprehensive concept of security, the OSCE addresses, in its appropriate fora, concerns related to the issue of small arms as part of an overall assessment of the security situation of a particular country, and takes practical steps which will assist in this respect;

(vi) Develop appropriate measures on small arms at the end of armed conflicts including their collection, safe storage and destruction linked to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DD&R) of combatants."

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.