The inflow of illicit weapons into Africa due to poor control measures enable people to illegally access arms to destabilise countries in the continent, killing innocent people, displacing millions, and destroying national infrastructures and properties.
In a bid to address instability in the continent and ensure a conducive platform for development in Africa, the African Union is imploring governments and partners to stop the inflow of illicit weapons into Africa.
The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), dedicated its 693rd meeting held on 14 June 2017, to an Open Session on the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by the year 2020.
The Council emphasised that Africa should assume total responsibility for its destiny, which includes, among others, realisation of a conflict-free, integrated and prosperous Africa.
In 2015, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said at the UN Security Council, “Small arms do not only make easy the taking and maiming of lives, but also kill economies and the social bonds on which every kind of collective institution and progress rely,”
Hussein noted that denial of education and health, criminality, illicit plundering of natural resources, decreased trade and investment, violence against women and girls, gang violence and the collapse of the rule of law were facilitated by widespread access to the weapons.
Considering the challenges, the Peace and Security Council reiterates the need to capacitate law enforcement agencies to enable them effectively contribute to stopping the inflow of illicit weapons into Africa, and at the same time curb the circulation of illicit weapons within the continent, and also enhance capacity to identify, seize and destroy illicit weapons.
The African Union (AU) Commission, in partnership with the Small Arms Survey, co-organized the inception meeting on mapping illicit arms flows in Africa, on 13-14 June 2017, at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The aim of the study is to generate concrete data to reveal patterns and trends in arms and ammunition inflows, diversion and illicit circulation, and gaps in control measures. This will further enable AU and RECs policy organs and Member States prevent the flow of illegal arms and ammunition into conflict zones, implement evidence-based policies and better measure progress and impact in line with the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by Year 2020.