The Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye, has reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to the arms trade treaty as part of the country’s contribution towards curbing illegal arms dealing in Africa.
The dealing of illegal arms has continually undermined peace and security.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day sensitisation workshop of government official on the ratification process of the arms trade treaty yesterday, Busingye said that the proliferation of illicit arms allows criminal organisations and terrorist groups to continue operating easily across the region, hence threatening peace and security.
“As nations, we are putting efforts together to reduce the illegal arms flow that continues to feed conflicts and divert resources,” he said.
The Arms Trade Treaty is designed to regulate the transfer of conventional arms. It complements other international and regional instruments on arms control, including the United Nations Programme of Action, the International Tracing Instrument, the UN Firearms Protocol, the Nairobi Protocol as well as the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and Silencing the Guns initiative.
Busingye pointed out that the number of member states within the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States region which have signed the Arms Trade Treaty is still low.
Rwanda signed the Arms Trade Treaty in 2013.
Busingye noted that the related legal processes will follow in order to ratify the treaty.
So far, only two RECSA member states have ratified the treaty – the Central African Republic and Seychelles – while five others, including Rwanda, signed it.
The Executive Secretary of the Nairobi based RECSA, Badreldin Elamin Abdelgadir, said that the full implementation of the treaty will reduce the trafficking of small arms and light weapons into and within the region.
“These illicit arms are mostly manufactured outside our continent and move from legal to illegal hands through diversion and trafficking This treaty enhances security and allow our governments and citizens to focus on socio-economic development as well as good governance,” he said.
RECSA has the mandate to coordinate the implementation of different legal instruments and to put in place guidelines to be utilised by member states with the view to preventing and fighting the proliferation of the illicit small arms and their ammunition.