U.N. secretary-general urges international fight against small arms scourge

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke on Thursday before the Security Council, asking the international community to fight against the illicit use of small arms by entering the Arms Trade Treaty into force.

"The world is over-armed and peace is underfunded," Ban said.

Ban cited the havoc small arms have caused the international community recently, including incidents with pirates, rebels and terrorists. Ban said as long as small arms are unregulated, the world cannot see its objective for global peace met.

"The uncontrolled availability of guns and bullets threatens peace processes and fragile reconciliation efforts," Ban said. "It leads to a vast range of human rights violations, including killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, enforced disappearances, torture and forced recruitment of children by armed groups. It exacerbates inter-community violence and organized crime. And it undermines our work for social justice, the rule of law and the Millennium Development Goals."

The Arms Trade Treaty seeks to regulate global trade of all arms, including small arms, battle tanks, warships and combat aircrafts. The treaty has been signed by 110 member states and ratified by seven. It must be ratified by 50 member states to enter into force.

"Small arms remain a big concern," Ban said. "The challenge lies at the intersection of human rights, security, development, crime, international trade, public health and counter-terrorism... member states, the U.N. system, regional organizations and civil society have made progress, but much remains to be done."