IANSA Africa Update: May 2011
This is the second of our quarterly Updates on IANSA in Africa to keep you informed of progress on the continent. This issue focuses on the ‘Central Africa Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and all Parts and Components that can be used for their Manufacture, Repair and Assembly’, known as the 'Kinshasa Convention'.
The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) member states and the Republic of Rwanda, State members of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa ("the Committee") working with the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), met to sign the Kinshasa Convention on the 19 November 2010 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. However, Burundi and Rwanda did not sign the convention.
The purpose of the convention is:
- To prevent, combat and eradicate illicit trade and trafficking in small arms and light weapons in the region
- To strengthen the control of manufacturing, trade, movement, transfer, possession and the use of small arms and light weapons
- To reduce human suffering and combat armed violence caused by the illicit trade and trafficking in small arms and light weapons
- To create the space for cooperation among state parties and dialog among Governments and CSOs
The full text of the convention is available here. Chapters include:
- Possession of small arms and light weapons by civilians;
- Manufacture, repair and distribution;
- Operational procedures;
- Transparency and exchange of information;
- Harmonisation of national legislation;
- Institutional arrangements and implementation;
On 23-24 September UNREC organised a meeting of experts in Lomé, Togo to review the draft implementation plan of the convention. This meeting was attended by international and regional organisations including the ECCAS, the ECOWAS Small Arms Programme (ECOSAP), the International Action Network on Small arms (IANSA), the Benin National Commission, the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), the West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP).
The implementation plan was later adopted by the Kinshasa Convention state parties at the meeting in Brazzaville on 15 to19 November 2010. For more on the plan visit: http://iansa.org/resource/2011/05/implementation-plan-for-the-kinshasa-convention-on-small-arms-control
Civil Society involvement
The State parties recognise civil society participation as important in the implementation of this convention, particularly in education and awareness raising programmes as outlined in Article 19 of the convention text.
During the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence from 13 - 19 June 2011, IANSA members in the Central Africa region will be campaigning in the 11 countries to stress the importance of the Kinshasa Convention to members of parliament and the general public, and promote a culture of peace in the region. They will also lobby state parties and strategic government departments to push for ratification of the convention.