Senior Officials Attend Conference on Conventional Weapons Treaties

Mr. Marktas Forau and Mr. William Soaki.

SOLOMON ISLANDS recently participated at the Pacific Conference on Conventional Weapons Treaties in Auckland, New Zealand from 12-14 February 2018.

The Solomon Islands delegation was led by Mr. William Soaki, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & External Trade (MFAET) and accompanied by Mr. Marktas Forau, Under Secretary, Ministry of Police, National Security & Correctional Services (MPNSCS). A third member of the delegation from the Attorney General’s Chamber was not able to attend the conference due to visa issues.

Fourteen Pacific Island countries (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) including Australia and New Zealand attended the conference which take stock and advance the implementation of three treaties dealing with conventional weapons: the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty, the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention). All three treaties are important to the global community and the Pacific region for humanitarian, security and for development related reasons.

Solomon Islands is yet to be a State Party to both the Arms Trade Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Solomon Islands is nonetheless a State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.

The Arms Trade Treaty establishes international standards to regulate the trade in conventional arms and to forestall the diversion of arms into illicit market.

It aims to reduce human suffering and to advance peace, security and stability, which include preventing transnational crimes and terrorist acts. There are only four Pacific countries who are currently State Parties to the Treaty.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions develops motivation by principles of humanity and concerned at the extent of civilian suffering caused by these weapons. The convention puts in place a comprehensive prohibition on cluster munitions.

Only few states in the Pacific have had direct experience but the region has a greater role in adding its voice to global efforts to strengthen norm against these inhumane weapons and increase their stigmatization. There are seven Pacific countries who are State Parties to the Convention.

The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention adopted a comprehensive prohibition against anti-personnel landmines.

The convention is determined to put an end to the widespread suffering and casualties caused mostly to civilians. All Pacific countries are State Parties to the Convention except for Federated States of Micronesia and Tonga.

The Auckland Conference enabled participants to make good sense of commitments, advance membership and look at the implementation of the treaty and conventions. Participants were encouraged to share their challenges to become state parties and given the opportunity to request any technical assistance through bilateral arrangements or partnership with International civil society organizations.