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OAS Secretary General: "Illicit Firearms Trafficking is one of the Main Indicators of Organized Crime in the Region"

  April 15, 2011

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today opened the Twelfth Regular Meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), which took place at the headquarters of the hemispheric Organization in Washington, DC.

During the meeting, the head of the OAS affirmed that this theme is "a priority for our work on public security matters", emphasizing that illicit firearms trafficking "has come to be one of the main indicators of organized crime in the region, reaching 80 percent, an even higher rate then previous decades".

He encouraged the representatives of the countries present at the meeting to continue their work in combating firearm trafficking, stressing that "we have to focus our efforts on legislative reforms and specific measures to prevent and control the trafficking of arms, including greater cooperation at the national, regional, and international levels".

Furthermore, he recalled that, if all of the OAS Member States have joined CIFTA, only thirty have ratified it, and he called on "those countries left to do it, because it is very fundamental that we have everyone's full participation."

In his address, Secretary General Insulza stressed the value of the meeting, expressing that it reflects "the importance that the governments assign to preventing and combating crime", and he reiterated the commitment and support of the OAS "so that all the Member States require the effective implementation of the CIFTA as a critical tool in the fight against crime".

For his part, the Secretary pro tempore of the Consultative Committee of the CIFTA and Permanent Representative of Mexico, Ambassador Gustavo Albín, asserted that "as Member States of the OAS we should ensure without doubts and conditions a strict and effective implementation of the provisions of the Convention."

At the meeting of experts on arms trafficking, the experiences of the different countries on the matter will be made known, as well as their concerns and ideas o how to support the full implementation of this Convention, and through it, to contribute effectively to the reduction of violence and insecurity in the hemisphere.

At the meeting, the States Parties to CIFTA will discuss the activities executed to implement the Convention, particularly referring to the operation and destruction of arsenals as well as the marking of firearms. The agenda of the meeting also included a demonstration of firearms marking equipment that the OAS is donating to various Member States.

A gallery of photos of the event will be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-627/11