Best Practice Guidelines for the Implementation of the Nairobi Declaration and the Nairobi Protocol on Small arms and Light Weapons attempt to define Stockpile management in its application to Small Arms Light Weapons (SALW) as “planning, acquisition, possession, record keeping, safe storage, control, maintenance, refurbishing, production and disposal of Small Arms and Light Weapons stockpiles.”
This is further summarized as “The control and management, in all aspects, of Small Arms and Light Weapons in state and non-state possession” for purposes of the Nairobi Declaration and the Nairobi Protocol.
In the previous series we mentioned about the negative effects of Small arms and light weapons (SALW) especially those in the “wrong hands” non-state actors.
However you will agree with me that the list of these negative effects is almost endless, small arms have fueled civil wars and other conflicts, causing harm, death and displacement to millions of people, particularly in Africa.
These small weapons are only part of a larger trade that includes heavier and more lethal weaponry, but light arms are often especially baneful because they are cheap, easy to transport and can be handled by ill-trained rebel soldiers and even children.
Recent UN reports show how these weapons are illicitly exported, transported with the connivance of government officials in some countries and smuggled into war zones.
In some areas, automatic weapons are so cheap they can be bought in exchange for a chicken or a few pounds of rice.
However, it should be noted that Small Arms and Light Weapons do not in themselves cause conflict and criminality.
But their availability, accumulation and illicit proliferation may escalate conflicts, undermine peace agreements, intensity violence, impact on crime, impede development and social stability, democracy and good governance among others as previously elaborated.
It is in this regard that the Rwanda National Police through the division of Central Firearms Registry has put much emphasis in stock pile management and record keeping among other initiatives to curb down the illicit proliferation of SALW.
Small arms must be controlled from the source, the legal bearers should be accountable and there should be a system for tracking the transfers of a specific weapon and that can only be achieved through proper record keeping and efficient report back mechanisms.
In this regard, with the support of the Regional Center for Small and Arms (RECSA) and other stake holders, Police officers were trained and further training is still going on so as equip the officers with the right and sufficient tools to face this enormous challenge at national level and regional/international levels in the fields of firearms’ stockpile management, safety, security and maintenance among others.
The system of record keeping has been transformed to electronic form, a central database was established and it also facilitates tracing as discussed previously, unlike the hard copy system whereby there was no guarantee for security and durability of the records.
In the next series we shall continue to bring to your notice the detailed activities that are ongoing as efforts to curb down the illicit proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons;
In case you have information related to illegal presence of firearms and/or ammunition;
Please call 112 hotline or 0788311150.