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RECSA Marks Nairobi Declaration Day with Briefing to the AU Peace & Security Council
RECSA Marks Nairobi Declaration Day with Briefing to the AU Peace & Security Council

ADDIS ABABA: On 14th March 2019, the RECSA Executive Secretary Lt. Gen. Badreldin Elamin Abdelgadir briefed the 832nd meeting of African Union Peace and Security Council on the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and its impact on Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020. The briefing marked the 19th Anniversary of the signing of the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (of 15th March 2000). The Nairobi Declaration lay the ground for the legally binding Nairobi Protocol on the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons of which RECSA draws its mandate.

In his address, Lt. Gen. Abdelgadir noted that, “the accumulation and misuse of illicit firearms in Africa sparks, fuels, and prolongs armed conflicts and violence in Africa. These arms do not respect political or geographical borders, therefore, to address the problem we must act together as governments, regional and international actors”

The briefing comes at a time when the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa region is experiencing increasing political optimism and goodwill towards addressing internal and external conflicts as well as political barriers to security cooperation. This is clearly evidenced by the restoration of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, the democratic transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the reopening of the Sudan-Eritrea Border, and the peace deal between the government and armed groups in Central African Republic.

In its Communique on the meeting, the Peace and Security Council stressed the primary responsibility of Member States to combat the illicit circulation of SALW and urged them to redouble their efforts in establishing simple and effective national systems and facilities to enhance accountability, avert diversion and prevent security risks.

The Council also stressed the need to include in peace agreements; modalities for the management of arms in order to ensure effective Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) in post-conflict states. Cross-border cooperation, experience sharing, as well as implementation of regional and international arms control instruments were some of the measures encouraged by the Council.

The African Union’s Silencing the Guns Plan of Action (STG-PoA) highlights the need to leverage the role of regional bodies in coordinating and evaluating interventions that are tailored to specific security contexts in the different AU regions.  The Plan of Action recognizes that the illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons remains a sore thumb in mediation, stabilization, peacebuilding, security sector reforms and ultimately development in the continent. Cumulatively, illicit arms have impeded stability and development in the region, and the key challenge in collective security interventions in the continent is to prevent relapses into conflict and to support stabilization and reforms that will lead to successful transitions for post-conflict states.

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