Spector Calls on UN Committee to Condemn Violations of WMD Controls

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June 22, 2016

At yesterday’s “open consultation” of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on ways to strengthen UNSC Resolution 1540, Leonard “Sandy” Spector, executive director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies Washington, DC, office, called on the Resolution 1540 committee to take steps to prevent states from sidestepping controls put in place by other states, which he says can gravely weaken the entire system the resolution aims to promote.

A wide view of the Security Council as Members unanimously adopt resolution 1977 (2011) on 20 April 2011, extending for 10 years the mandate of the 1540 Committee. UN Photo/Devra Berkovitz

A wide view of the Security Council as Members unanimously adopt resolution 1977 (2011) on 20 April 2011, extending for 10 years the mandate of the 1540 Committee. UN Photo/Devra Berkovitz

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UNSC Resolution 1540 (2004) requires, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, that all states to adopt strict controls over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related missile systems. The committee in charge of monitoring the resolution’s implementation is currently undergoing a “comprehensive review” to “identify the best ways forward to achieving its full implementation.”
Spector offered the committee several actionable proposals that would strengthen the efficacy of the resolution, including calling on the UNSC to:

  • encourage additional, voluntary peer reviews of implementation
  • declare the resolution requires all states to respect controls of other UN members
  • deplore illegal WMD procurement programs that undermine achievement of Resolution 1540’s objectives
  • underscore the threat to international peace and security posed by such violations
  • consider issuing “public statements,” isolating states that challenge the integrity of the resolution’s control systems

These steps—particularly declaring illicit WMD procurement programs to be a “threat to international peace and security”—is the trigger under the UN Charter for the Security Council to take corrective action, including the imposition of sanctions.  There is no need, he commented, to await further deviations from nonproliferation rules before the UNSC intervenes.

Read the statement

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