5 Jun 2013

Tuvalu and Palau sign UN small arms treaty

7:43 pm on 5 June 2013

Tuvalu and Palau have become the first countries in the Pacific to sign the UN small arms treaty.

The treaty, which opened for signatures in New York on Monday, puts rules in place that make countries consider human rights before any arms trade deals are made.

New Zealand and Australia have also signed it and Samoa will be doing so in September at the UN general assembly.

The Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand, Barry Coates, says he hopes other Pacific countries will do the same because the country could prevent conflicts such as those seen in Solomon Islands and Bougainville.

"It's a major step forward for the Pacific and one of the things that it provides is for some controls over the flood of small arms that can often end up destabilising states and of course causing serious problems for citizens who are threatened by guns and destabilised government."

Barry Coates says the next step is ratification of the treaty before it can come into effect.