Illicit Arms, Organized Crime, and Armed Conflict

Many researchers have analyzed the connections between illicit arms and organized crime, as well as between organized crime and armed conflict. However, not much exploration has been done into the linkages among all three security threats. In a recent report from the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), author Lauren Pinson explores this relationship and provides suggestions on how to better address these interconnected challenges.

The report, Addressing the Linkages Between Illicit Arms, Organized Crime and Armed Conflict, briefly illustrates  how the source of illicit arms, the process of illicit arms acquisition, and the dynamics of crime and conflict all play an integrated role in increasing violence, undermining development, and hindering sustainable peace and stability. It also provides considerations to inform the adoption of more coherent policy and operational responses to address these threats, such as integrating weapons and ammunition management into conflict prevention and post-conflict stabilization strategies, combatting illicit arms transfers to fragile and conflict-affected areas through effective criminal justice responses, and strengthening efforts to systematically trace arms and ammunition across States.

For more resources related to this piece, check out HSDL’s In Focus on Gangs or other resources related to arms trafficking and organized crime

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