2 Mar 2012

Application of UN Arms Trade Treaty to Pacific on Brisbane agenda

12:24 pm on 2 March 2012

There are hopes commitment to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty will force Pacific governments to improve surveillance to try to curb the flow of guns across borders.

Developing a common Pacific position on the Treaty is being discussed in Brisbane this week.

The spokesperson of the Papua New Guinea-based Peace Foundation Melanesia, James Laki, says they focus on conflict resolution and changing attitudes to violence, so efforts to limit guns in the community are critical.

Under the Treaty, governments are required to meet certain protocols such as improving border surveillance.

Mr Laki says this means more than just designating seven international ports as the Papua New Guinea government has done.

"But then we don't have manpower to man those, or customs, to oversee those international ports. At the same time we have logging companies that take in ships to the remote areas to load logs, and this is where we also think a lot of illegal activities and arms transfer could take place."

James Laki of the Peace Foundation Melanesia