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Council of Delegates 1999: Resolution 12

30-10-1999 Resolution

Arms Availability and the Situation of Civilians in Armed Conflict and Post-conflict Situations

Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Geneva, Switzerland, 29 - 30 October 1999

The Council of Delegates,

reiterating the preoccupation of the Council of Delegates with the easy access of combatants untrained in international humanitarian law, civilian populations and even children to a wide variety of weapons, particularly small arms, and their frequent use against civilian populations and in violation of basic humanitarian principles,

 recalling the mandate of the 26th International Conference to the ICRC to study the relationship between arms availability and violations of international humanitarian law, as well as the Resolutions 2.8 of the1995 Council of Delegates and 8.4 of the1997 Council of Delegates requesting that the role and attitude of the Movement on arms availability be clarified by the 1999 Council of Delegates,

 welcoming the ICRC's new study on " Arms Availability and the Situation of Civilians in Armed Conflict " and its consultations since 1997 with all components of the Movement on this subject,

 convinced that the proliferation of arms and ammunition can increase tensions, heighten civilian casualties, prolong the duration of conflicts and hinder the provision of humanitarian assistance to populations in need,

 further convinced of the relationship between unregulated availability of arms and violations of international humanitarian law and a deterioration of the situation of civilians,

1. endorses the overall ana lysis and conclusions of the ICRC's study on " Arms Availability and the Situation of Civilians in Armed Conflict " ;

2. calls on States to review their policies concerning the production, availability and transfer of arms and ammunition, as well as explosives and other related materials, in light of their responsibility to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and to assist and protect civilian populations;

3. calls on States , which have not already done so, to elaborate rules, based on respect for international humanitarian law and other appropriate norms, governing the transfer and availability of arms and ammunition. The Council of Delegates calls on States, as a first step, to halt arms transfers to parties committing or tolerating serious violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law;

4. calls on all components of the Movement to help ensure, during the 27th International Conference, that clear proposals for action on these concerns are maintained in the Plan of Action;

5. encourages National Societies , to the extent possible in their own contexts, to actively raise public awareness of the human costs of the widespread availability of arms and ammunition and of its implications for the fabric of international humanitarian law. The ICRC is requested to support such efforts by providing technical advice and information materials in order to promote a culture of non-violence;

6. discourages components of the Movement from engaging in public debate on specific transfers of weapons to specific recipients in ways which could compromise the Movement's neutrality or operational capacity;

7. requests the ICRC, in consultation with the International Federation, to submit to the next Council of Delegates a report on Movement activities and international progress in this field with a view to consideration by the Council of any further steps which may be appropriate.