African Parliamentarians conclude workshop on strengthening the response to armed violence - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Saturday, October 5, 2019

African Parliamentarians conclude workshop on strengthening the response to armed violence

PAP President H. E. Rt. Hon.  Roger Nkodo Dang
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP), in collaboration with the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons recently held a regional seminar on “Enhancing parliamentary engagement and action for more peaceful and sustainably developed societies - implementation of 2030 Agenda, the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UN PoA)"  on the margins of the 3rd Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament of the PAP at the PAP Headquarters in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Members of Parliament from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Tanzania, Palestine, Uganda and Zimbabwe joined members of the PAP, representatives of the diplomatic community and civil society for the two-day seminar.
In his goodwill message to the seminar, PAP President, Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang stated that a solution to the problematic issue of illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of SALW that is destabilising the African continent relies on the capacity to implement key resolutions, including the ratification of the Malabo Protocol by member states: “We welcome the African Union (AU)’s theme for the year 2020 which will be “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive conditions for Africa’s Development” as it helps assess the status of our objective to silence the guns in Africa by 2020, as envisaged in the Agenda 2063 First Ten Year Implementation Plan.”
The President informed them that PAP stood ready to play its role which consists of harmonising and coordinating national and regional efforts and legislations for silencing the guns on the continent, noting however, this role would be fulfilled more effectively if the institution is empowered with a legislative mandate in order to facilitate and provide a platform for continuous parliamentary action and engagement on the risks posed by SALW.
He added: “I wish to call on our national and regional Parliaments to facilitate and oversee the implementation of regional and international instruments on SALW, a sine qua non condition for achieving sustainable peace, security and development for all of our people.”
Ms. Karin Olofsson, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons pointed out that “Effective steps to tackle the uncontrolled proliferation of SALW are crucial to sustainable development and to prevent armed violence, hence the need to empower law-makers to reinforce their legislative, oversight and awareness-raising functions. Parliamentarians play a vital role in building peace and in armed violence prevention in order to silence the guns by 2020 in Africa.”
The seminar noted that African countries are severely affected by the uncontrolled proliferation and trafficking of SLW noting that conflict, proxy wars and inter-communal strife characterize many regions in Africa. It also observed that most conflicts in Africa involved non-state actors such as militias, warlords, and extremist groups who use uncontrolled arms. And because thay have no legal authority to purchase or bear arms, they resort to illicit means of arms acquisition, mainly through diversion from state stockpiles, black markets and trafficking as well as locally produced arms. It concluded that the flow of uncontrolled arms in Africa exacerbated conflicts, fueled violence and caused severe human, economic and social costs for the continent.
Through policy dialogue and debate, the seminar addressed the international instruments that guide and regulate conventional arms control, through increased parliamentary engagement and action in international processes. It sought to increase parliamentary commitment, understanding and actions on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the United Nations Programme to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UN PoA) and 2030 Agenda, more concretely Sustainable Development Goal 16, Target 4 (SDG 16.4), aimed to significantly reduce illicit arms flows.
Specific focus is on the Women, Peace and Security agenda (WPS) and the Youth, Peace and Security agenda (YPS) including promoting the effective implementation of Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) on WPS (UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions) and YPS (UNSCR 2250).
The seminar concluded by recommending a Parliamentary Action Plan that outlined the main priorities and actions needed to reinforce parliamentary ownership, participation and understanding of the Arms Trade Treaty within the framework of the SDGs.
Three action areas were identified based on the key roles of a parliamentarian: Awareness raising, legislation and Oversight.

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