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UN arms bans routinely violated, campaigners say

Written by: Staff
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UNITED NATIONS, Mar 16 (Reuters) U N arms embargoes are routinely violated and need tougher controls to succeed in stopping illicit weapons sales, ending conflicts and curbing human rights abuses, arms control campaigners said.

All 13 arms bans imposed by the U N Security Council in the past decade have been poorly enforced and only a handful of violators have been successfully prosecuted, the Control Arms Campaign said in a 43-page report.

The campaign is an initiative of Oxfam International, Amnesty International and the International Action Network on Small Arms.

Although arms embargoes are legally binding under the U N Charter, enforcement is generally left to the 191 U N member nations, many of whom have failed to adopt laws making violations a criminal offense, the report said.

Others turn a blind eye to banned arms deals or even participate in them for the money or to advance what they see as their strategic interests.

Despite an obligation to enforce embargoes, ''a sample of data from U N reports over the past decade shows that individuals and companies operating in at least 30 countries across different world regions have been implicated in embargo busting,'' the report said.

It called on the 15-nation council to improve the design of embargoes, crack down on violators and establish more effective controls.

It also said the expert teams used by the United Nations to monitor embargoes and identify violators should get more support from the world body and its member-states.

U N bans on arms deals are currently in force in Ivory Coast, Liberia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Arms flows are also banned to members of al Qaeda and the Taliban and any group or individual linked to those groups.

Embargoes have also been in force over the past decade but are no longer in effect in Eritrea and Ethiopia, Angola, Iraq, Libya and the former Yugoslavia.

REUTERS DKS VC0955

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