WASHINGTON ACADEMY MODEL OF UNITED NATIONS
1. The question of black arms trade and its connection to rebel groups.
The black-market is one of the greatest sources of illegal business in the world. Every day thousands of illicit products, including weapons and drugs, are purchased and sold. Since 1990, small arms have caused more deaths than any other weaponry; resulting in more than 20 million refugees and 4 million deaths.
Small arms are easy to maintain, transport, and use; and as a consequence, 60% of small arms in the world are illegally held.
Illegal trade has been facilitated by the existence of arms stockpiles in states of the former Soviet bloc, and countries at war such as Uganda, DR Congo, and Iraq in which the surplus of weapons is often stolen or purchased from soldiers.
In the specific case of the African continent many neighbouring countries provide weapons which immediately enter the black-market. This has proven true in Somalia, DR Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Sudan; where small weapons are the main cause of unnatural deaths.
One of the main problems in Africa is the existence of rebel groups; funded directly by the black-market. Rebels are armed, organized groups that use military force to revolt against the government; they often take countless lives, abduct innocent children, and participate in many other types of illegal activities.
There is also an undeniable connection between illicit trade and worldwide terrorist organizations. In 2005, The Human Development Report stated; “Insecurity linked to armed conflict remains one of the greatest obstacles to human development. It is both a cause and a consequence of mass poverty.” What makes the black-market so difficult to approach is the fact that the scale and price of transactions is unknown because of lack of reliable statistics; the actual magnitude is indefinite. Many countries have therefore neglected to work on the solution of the issue. Even though there are some existent international laws to persecute black-market dealers, recent solutions also include the UN Programme of Action and the ‘Nairobi Protocol for prevention, control, and reduction of small arms and light weapons’. The challenge still remains to solve this issue at a worldwide scale.