'As the devastating health and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to be felt around the world, the impact of the crisis on peace and security in Africa and more specifically on the African Union’s (AU) Silencing the guns initiative, is beginning to emerge.
'Discussions on new dynamics and approaches to consider at the multilateral and national levels for tackling the illicit small arms trade should unfold in parallel as new challenges emerge. This blog post gives an overview of the main points raised during the high-level panel in the eleventh session of the Small Arms Survey 2020 online forum ‘Taking stock of action on the illicit small arms trade’.
'The League of Arab States (LAS), INTERPOL, the Small Arms Survey, and the World Customs Organization (WCO) — supported by the EU — are working together on a joint project to combat the illicit trade in, and proliferation of, small arms and light weapons in LAS Member States.
'Conventional arms and ammunition are at risk of diversion throughout their life cycle. Identifying and putting in place effective measures to prevent, detect, and respond to diversion is a priority for the small arms community. The second panel of the Small Arms Survey 2020 online forum ‘Taking stock of action on the illicit small arms trade’ focused on the issue of diversion, a key theme for this year’s sixth conference of states parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT CSP6) and next year’s seventh biennial meeting of the UN Programme of Action on small arms (PoA BMS7).
'Next year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (PoA). The opening panel of the Small Arms Survey 2020 online forum ‘Taking stock of action on the illicit small arms trade’ therefore reflected on the impact of this landmark document on action to address illicit small arms proliferation during the past two decades. This blog post provides a short snapshot of the opening panel discussions on the PoA achievements thus far...'
'A woman and a child carrying a bag of onions crossed into the Central African Republic (CAR) from Cameroon on 27 April, 2014. Inside the bag, buried among the onions, was a box of shotgun ammunition intended for anti-Balaka militia — groups of vigilante units known to have committed a number of atrocities, including carrying out attacks on UN peacekeepers. CAR customs officials along with the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) seized and documented the ammunition...'
'In July 2001, United Nations (UN) member states adopted by consensus the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA). It is a UN instrument that outlines measures to be taken to regulate small arms throughout their life cycle in order to prevent their diversion to the illicit small arms trade, and improve the detection of illicit small arms and subsequently remove them from circulation.
'Many smugglers think of themselves as transporters, not criminals.[i] For, they argue, isn’t the smuggling of petrol, cigarettes and other goods across largely uncontrolled borders simply a way of making a living? And in terms of moving people, can people who smuggle migrants across borders be seen rather as service providers such as bus companies — as some suggest — rather than as smugglers?
'‘It’s not a piece of lumber, it’s not painted, it’s not restored, it’s not airsoft — it’s the natural product.’
‘Can I get it in St. Petersburg?’
'In October 2013, the US Justice Department announced the arrest of Ross Ulbricht, the founder and operator of ‘Silk Road,’ a massive online marketplace for drugs and other illicit goods. Authorities called it ‘the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet’ and estimated that it had facilitated the transfer of more than a billion dollars in drugs and other contraband over a two-year period (US FBI, 2013).