International Disarmament Institute News

May 17, 2018
by mbolton
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Using the Arms Trade Treaty to Address Pastoralist Conflict and Wildlife Crime in Kenya’s Marginalized Regions

The Forum on the Arms Trade report Addressing Non-State Actors: Multiple Approaches has published an article by Matthew Bolton, director of Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute on ways to use the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to address armed violence in Kenya (which has signed but not yet ratified the treaty):

“Militarized state interventions to address cattle rustling in Kenya often exacerbate the situation, introducing new weapons (that enter the illicit market sector through theft or sale) and extrajudicial violence. Heavy-handed suppression is also expensive, diverting important resources away from sustainable development. Similarly, militarized state responses to the collapsing populations of elephants and rhinos—such as shoot-to-kill policies—have often failed to meet human rights standards and have even been implicated in poaching. Indeed, such responses may undermine important efforts to engage and build local capacities for sustainability, peace, and alternative livelihoods. There are, however, alternatives to militarized responses to pastoralist conflict and wildlife crime, rooted in human rights, the rule of law and international cooperation and assistance. The previous African elephant poaching crisis in the 1980s—which was fueled by the influx of guns in Africa’s Cold War proxy conflicts—was stopped not so much by militarized interventions but rather through international legal and normative change. In 2013, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) established, for the first time, global regulations on the transfer of conventional weapons that can prevent arms getting into the hands of human rights abusers, terrorists, war criminals and organized criminal groups. The majority of African states have signed the ATT and Kenya was particularly crucial in this diplomatic victory, as one of the eight “co-authors” (seen as custodians of the process) of the 2006 General Assembly Resolution that launched the treaty process. However, Kenya has not yet joined the ATT. If it is universalized and rigorously implemented, States like Kenya can use the ATT as a normative framework for assessing and mitigating the risks that arms transfers will exacerbate armed violence in pastoralist communities, including cattle raiding and wildlife crime, as well as counterproductive, militarized approaches to controlling pastoralist regions.”

To read the full article, click here.

This article is based on research conducted by Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute during its 2016-2017 Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Academy East Africa project. In partnership with the Control Arms Secretariat, the International Disarmament Institute’s  ATT Academy was a year-long program of education, research and training on the ATT for  East and Horn of Africa officials and civil society activists. This project was supported by the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR).

 

December 15, 2016
by mbolton
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Op-Ed: Saving Rhinos while Protecting Human Rights: The Value of the Arms Trade Treaty for Global Anti-Poaching Efforts

Republished from the Forum on the Arms Trade’s “Looking Ahead 2017” blog series.

The world is facing what the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has described as an “Environmental Crime Crisis,” with an unprecedented slaughter of large mammals, particularly in the African continent. More than 100,000 elephants have been killed by poachers in the last five years and, over the same period, the number of rhinoceroses poached has increased every year.

The illicit wildlife trade is now increasingly sophisticated, dangerous and globalized, integrated with armed groups and organized crime. It has been fueled by a proliferation of military-grade guns in unstable regions with high concentrations of rhinos and elephants. Since 2014, the UN Security Council has identified poaching as a regional security threat in Africa (S/RES/2134 and S/RES/2136). This month UNEP released a new report showing how environmental crime “threatens peace and security.” In 2017, the Arms Trade Treaty and other international measures could offer tools to address these problems in an integrated way.

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October 25, 2016
by mbolton
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Intersections between Wildlife Crime and the Arms Trade

Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute presented research on how the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) offers opportunities to the address the violent nexus between wildlife crime and illicit arms trafficking during an informal lunch at the UN hosted by Control Arms and Zambia.

The report was well received by representatives of African states that have been affected by wildlife crime, highlighting the importance of the issue and the willingness to cooperate and use existing provisions to address it in a creative way.

For further details on this event, read the write-up from Control Arms.

September 27, 2016
by mbolton
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How to Use the Arms Trade Treaty to Address Wildlife Crime

A family of white rhinos at Lake Nakuru, Kenya, June 2016.

A new report published by Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute and Control Arms Secretariat examines the potential role of the Arms Trade Treaty in addressing wildlife crime in East Africa. The report is one of several that will be published by the ATT Academy project:

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) offers opportunities to address the violent nexus of wildlife poaching and illicit arms trafficking. This report offers specific advice to policymakers and advocates seeking to use the framework of the ATT to assess and mitigate the risk that arms transfers will be diverted to poaching networks or exacerbate the negative impacts of militarizing wildlife protection. Advocating international and regional cooperation, the report also encourages the universalization and rigorous implementation of the ATT, as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and other relevant instruments, particularly in States at risk of poaching and other wildlife crime.

To read the report, click here.

The report is also available in French.

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