somalia position illicit arms trade

Essay by siddharth209 November 2014

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World Customs Organization

Illicit Arms Trade

Arms trafficking, or gunrunning, is a multi-billion dollar industry, and one of the biggest in the world. While illicit arms trade is a major problem throughout the entire world, it is most prominent in the poorer, third world countries, especially those of the African Continent.

In these countries, trends such as civil war, unstable governments, and extreme poverty tend to create susceptibility to the purchase and use of small arms. A prime example of this is Somalia. We are in desperate need of assistance with the act of completely removing and blocking the flow of illegal arms into the country. Resources that could be used to assist with ending the abject poverty have instead been put towards more guns. The security and government ability to stop this is at such a low point that most of these illegal weapons are easily sold to the many factions that inhabit Somalia.

The biggest of these groups is the Somalia-based jihadist terrorist group, al-Shabaab. Among al-Shabaab's major crimes are the shooting and killing of tens of thousands of elephants for ivory [1] each year and the multimillion dollar export of charcoal [2] in order to raise money for their cause. This is not to mention their mass murder of thousands of Somalian citizens. We believe the World Customs Organization can assist us in limiting the amount of illicit arms trade. They have been behind approximately 7000 ammunition seizures, seizing approximately 1.5 million pieces of guns and ammunition, according to the WCO 2013 Illicit Trade Report [3].

In the past, we have taken numerous steps to attempt ending illicit arms trade. Aside from using our army to ward off faction groups from certain areas, we have allied ourselves with the Organization of African Unity, the European...