On April 25th the Security Council convened under the Presidency of the United States to discuss challenges related to the illicit flow of arms, drugs, chemical and biological weapons and people across borders. The debate on this topic was highly unsatisfactory from a gender perspective, failing to mention the negative impact that trafficking in arms, people and drugs has on women's security and rights. Council members bear the responsibility for this gap, which is particularly notable given the documented links between the proliferation of arms and increased violence against women, not to mention the disproportionate impact of human trafficking on women's security, especially in areas characterized by armed conflict and displacement.
Another highly disappointing element of this debate was the lack of attention given to the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons and their effect on the daily lives of civilians, and in particular women living in conflict and post-conflict countries.
Instead, Council Members focused on whether or not tackling ‘illicit flows' comes under the purview of Security Council responsibility. Although intended to be discussed during the annual debate on working methods, this point of disagreement within the Council has increasingly/continually distracted the Council's work on thematic agenda items, including protection of civilians and WPS. PeaceWomen/WILPF wishes to express extreme disappointment with the statements made by participating countries and recommends that forthcoming debates on the topic give due attention to the substantive issues on the floor.