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100m illegal small arms, light weapons on circulation in Africa

100m illegal small arms, light weapons on circulation in Africa
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By Esther Aidoo-Ohumemu

A three-day forum on Regional Disarmament has taken off in Accra. It is for experts to deliberate on developments in the area of disarmament and arms control, with a particular focus on gender.

The ECOWAS Commission has disclosed that about 100 million illegal small arms and light weapons are in circulation in Africa, and West Africa is home to about 10 percent of the number.

ECOWAS is therefore on a mission to reduce the number of such weapons in circulation and establish effective regulatory frameworks.

The forum organized by the ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, is also to remind member states of their obligations to disarmament instruments.

The ECOWAS Commission has disclosed that about 100 million illegal small arms and light weapons are in circulation in Africa, and West Africa is home to about 10 percent of the number. ECOWAS is on a mission to reduce the number of such weapons in circulation, establish effective regulatory frameworks, and eliminate certain categories of weapon systems in the region.

At a disarmament forum in Accra, the Chief Director at the Ministry of the Interior, Mrs. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, said the lack of resources has made it challenging for member countries to adopt new legislation on small and light weapons.

The Head of the Small Arms Division of ECOWAS, Mr. Joseph Ahoba, said West African states are unable to control small arms and light weapons proliferation due to outdated legislative frameworks.

The Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research – UNIDIR, Geneva, Mr. Robin Geiss, said the gender and disarmament programme seeks to include a gender perspective in the disarmament processes.

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