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NAACP Supports Reduction in Small Arms and Light Munitions Traffic in Pots- Conflict African

WHEREAS, the 1990's witnessed several violent civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa; and

WHEREAS, civil conflict destroyed the economic and social infrastructure in nations such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and

WHEREAS, most of these conflicts were fueled and abetted by the ready and reckless availability of small arms and light munitions; and

WHEREAS, each of these nations created peace accords through difficult negotiations processes and with the participation of the international community; and

WHEREAS, post-conflict governments struggle to revive their economies, provide basic services and meet the expectations of citizens who suffered tremendous losses during the years of civil conflict; and

WHEREAS, the over abundance and low cost of small arms and light munitions in places where fighting has ended increasingly undermines stability, peace, security and development; and

WHEREAS, the description of ―small arms‖ includes rifles, pistols and light machine guns and ―light munitions‖ include hand-held grenade launchers and other similar tools of destruction; and

WHEREAS, the widespread abuse of weapons divert scarce government resources from health and education sectors to public security, discourages investment and economic growth and deprives post-conflict countries of the skills and talents of the victims of small arms and light munitions; and

WHEREAS, the availability of small arms and light munitions may escalate conflicts, undermine peace agreements, intensify violence and impact crime, impede economic and social development and hinder development of social stability, democracy and good governance; and

WHEREAS, the threat of small arms violence particularly threatens women and families and impedes their participation in efforts to rehabilitate war scarred societies; and

WHEREAS, the United States (U.S.), other bi-lateral donor nations and international financial institutions provide financial assistance to rehabilitate physical infrastructure and facilitate economic recovery; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations (UN) plays a critical role in sustaining peace and security through stability operation missions and demobilization, disarmament and reintegration programs for former combatants; and

WHEREAS, the lack of U.S. participation in the Biennial Meeting of States (BMS) to consider the implementation of the UN Program of Action on Small Arms reinforces the view that the U.S. is outside the global small arms process and undermines the global nature and significance of the UN process.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP shall encourage the United States Government to participate in the 2010 BMS to consider implementation of the UN Program of Action on Small Arms and generally work with international allies to reduce the proliferation of small arms in post-conflict African states; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that upon passage of this resolution the NAACP shall publicize its support for the abolition of small arms trafficking to post-conflict African states; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP shall use its non-governmental organization (NGO) observer status at the UN to participate in the 2010 BMS to speak out against small arms trafficking and work in coalition with other NGO observers to strengthen international laws and regulations to prevent small arms trafficking.

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