Since 2017, UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme (GFP) has been supporting countries in West Africa to improve the safe storage of seized and confiscated firearms in dedicated storing sites, including the construction and rehabilitation of sites in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal. From 28 to 30 April 2021, the GFP gathered a group of national experts from various countries in the West and Central Africa regions to discuss best practices and the proper operationalization of these sites.
During the meeting, experts from seven countries (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger and Senegal) had the opportunity to discuss software solutions to improve the storage, accounting and recordkeeping of seized firearms and which can greatly contribute to enhancing tracing procedures at the national and international levels. In addition, experts exchanged views on draft standard procedures for the handling of seized firearms as well as the use of UNODC’s Guiding Templates for Firearms-related Investigations.
Properly storing seized firearms and ammunition
As part of its work on promoting the proper handling of seized firearms, which includes their registration, temporary storage, access to investigations and to the justice system, and eventually their destruction, inter alia, recently in February of 2021 in Burkina Faso, UNODC handed over a transit storage site for seized firearms and ammunition to be used by the High Court of Ouagadougou 1 (Tribunal de Grande instance de Ouaga 1).
After the handover ceremony, UNODC held various meetings with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice, the President of the High Court and the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons on the use and operationalization of the storage site.
UNODC will continue these efforts which is expecting to strengthen during 2021 in the Central African Republic, Chad and Niger. This work on physical security and stockpile management, with an emphasis on seized firearms, has been supported by Denmark, Japan and Germany.