Central Africa Republic adopts new law on the general regime of conventional arms developed with support from UNODC

03-08-2020

The National Assembly of the Central African Republic adopted a new Law on the general regime on the parts, components and ammunition of conventional arms on 8th July, 2020.

The law will be instrumental in supporting the fight against illicit arms trafficking in the country and in the sub-region. The new law will also be key in supporting the implementation of the Firearms Protocol, the Arms Trade Treaty, and the Kinshasa Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the newly adopted regional instrument aimed at fighting the scourge of illicit arms proliferation in the Central African sub-region.

The law is the result of a year-long comprehensive legislative assistance package provided by UNODC in support of the mandate of the NatCom Small arms and light weapons (SALW), which included expert advice, a thorough evaluation of existing legislation and international commitments, a series of expert workshops and the establishment of a drafting committee including firearms and legal experts from different institutions and ministries, including the NatCom SALW itself, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2019, UNODC signed a roadmap with the NatCom SALW in order to support their efforts in the fight against arms trafficking, and which will support the implementation of the new law.

 

Ms. Simonetta Grassi, head of UNODC’s Global Firearms Programme, congratulated the Central African Republic for the new law, and stated that “UNODC remains committed to supporting national authorities in putting in place relevant measure to implement it”.

One year after the signing of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic, although there has seen an overall decrease in violence, there continue intermittent but serious incidents of violence and human rights violations and many challenges abound. In this context the law is a positive sign with regards to the measures put in place in efforts towards eradicating the root causes of the security problems affecting the country. And, as recently mentioned by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, the stability of the Central African Republic and that of the region are inextricably intertwined.

Mr. André Samba, President of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons of the Central African Republic (ComNat-ALPC) commended the spirit of collaboration and partnership that prevailed during the process leading to the adoption of this law under the technical leadership of UNODC.

Ms. Grassi also highlighted that the fight against illicit arms trafficking should be part of coordinated regional efforts. “Firearms trafficking is transnational by definition, the efforts put in place in a region to fight this are only as strong as its weakest link, which must continued to be addressed”, she added.  

The law includes, inter alia, provisions on arms definitions and classification; their manufacture and recordkeeping; securing and stockpiling; transfer and brokering; possession; as well as on criminal investigations, international cooperation -including tracing- and criminal and administrative sanctions.

UNODC is in discussions with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and with various countries in the sub region to identify how it can better support the development of updated and harmonized legislation in the sub region.

 

The support provided by UNODC is part of the project Countering transnational illicit arms trafficking through the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Firearms Protocol, funded by the European Union.