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Brokering

A 2007 UN report defines a broker as 'a person or entity acting as an intermediary that brings together relevant parties and arranges or facilitates a potential transaction of small arms and light weapons in return for some form of benefit, whether financial or otherwise’ (UN doc. A/62/163, para. 8). Parties to an arms deal include buyers, sellers, transporters, financiers, and insurers.

Brokers are often used to facilitate legitimate arms deals, yet illicit brokers have been instrumental in transferring weapons and ammunition to illegitimate users or destinations, including countries under UN arms embargo and conflict zones. In so doing, they rely on a general lack of governmental control and screening over their activities.

Since the mid-1990s, a series of multilateral initiatives has aimed to create a common understanding of illicit brokering and to develop the means for tackling it. In a few instances, the result has been explicit agreement—both political and legal—on targeted control measures. Nevertheless, in contrast to other arms trade actors—notably, importers and exporters—brokers continue to operate with few, if any, constraints in most parts of the world. The transnational nature of brokering activities makes multilateral cooperation essential; despite recent attention to the issue, however, common action on the problem remains elusive.

   

Small Arms Survey Publications

  • What the National Reports Reveal: Trends in UN PoA and ITI Reporting, June 2015. Issue Brief No. 13.

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  • Developing a Mechanism to Prevent Illicit Brokering in Small Arms and Light Weapons—Scope and Implications. Co-published with UNIDIR & United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs, 2006

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  • The Scope and Implications of a Tracing Mechanism for Small Arms and Light Weapons. 2003. Co-published with UNIDIR. Also available in French.

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Other Publications

  • Tricot O'Farrell, Kloé. 2013. Arms Brokering Controls: How Are They ImplemenTed in the EU? Brussels: Groupe de Recherche et d'Information sur la Paix et la Sécurité.

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  • Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and Inter-Parliamentary Union. 2007. Stemming the flow of small arms: control issues. In Missing Pieces: A Guide for reducing Gun Violence through Parliamentary Action, pp. 41-50.

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  • Amnesty International and Transarms. 2006. Dead on Time: Arms Transportation, Brokering, and the Threat to Human Rights.

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  • Wood, Brian. 2006. Strengthening compliance with EU arms embargoes: key challenges for monitoring and verification. In United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs (ed). DDA Occasional Papers, no. 10.

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  • Anders, Holger. 2005. Implementing the EU Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering: Progress after Two Years. Note d'analyse du GRIP.

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  • Anders, Holger and Silvia Cattaneo. 2005. Regulating Arms Brokering: Taking Stock and Moving Forward the United Nations Process. GRIP Report.

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  • Wood, Brian. 2005. Action to Prevent Illicit Arms Brokering: Suggestions for Action by the European Union and its Partners. Geneva: UNIDIR.

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  • The Fund for Peace. 2001. Model Convention on the Registration of Arms Brokers and the Suppression of Unlicensed Arms Brokering. Washington, DC: The Fund for Peace.

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  • Austin, Kathi. 2001. Arms Trafficking: Closing the Net. A Test Case for Prosecution under the US Law on Arms Brokering. Washington, DC: The Fund for Peace.

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  • Bondi, Loretta and Elise Keppler. 2001. Casting the Net? The Implications of the U.S. Law on Arms Brokering. Washington, DC: Fund for Peace.

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  • Peleman, Johann et Brian Wood. 1999. The Arms Fixers. Controlling the Brokers and Shipping Agents. A Joint Report by BASIC, NISAT et PRIO.

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Instruments and Documents

  • UNGA (United Nations General Assembly). 2007. Report of the Group of Governmental Experts Established Pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 60/81 to Consider Further Steps to Enhance International Cooperation in Preventing, Combating and Eradicating Illicit Brokering in Small Arms and Light Weapons. A/62/163 of 30 August.

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  • OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe). 2004. OSCE Principles On The Control Of Brokering In Small Arms And Light Weapons. Decision 8/04. 24 November. Vienna, OSCE.

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  • WA (Wassenaar Arrangement). 2003. The Wassenaar Arrangement Elements for Effective Legislation on Arms Brokering. 12 December 2003.

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  • OAS (Organization of American States). 2003. Amendments to the Model Regulation for the Control of the International movement of Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition - Broker Regulations. CICAD/doc1271/03, 13 November.

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  • Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). 2003. Best Practice Guide on National Control of Brokering Activities. Handbook of Best Practices on Small Arms and Light Weapons. 19 September. FSC. GAL/63/03/Rev 2.

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  • European Union. 2003. Council Common Position of 23 June on the Control of Arms Brokering. Brussels: EU (EU document 2003/468/CFSP).

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  • WA (Wassenaar Arrangement). 2002. Statement of Understanding on Arms Brokerage. Adopted during the 11-12 December Plenary Meeting, Vienna.

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  • UNGA (United Nations General Assembly). 2001. Report of the Group of Governmental Experts established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 54/54 V of 15 December 1999, entitled “Small arms” [on brokering activities]. A/192/2 of 11 May.

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Further Resources

     
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