bｙ Yasumitsu Kida, Project Manager, Japan Assistance Team for Small Arms Management in Cambodia (JSAC)
The SALW Problem in
Turning firstly to an overview of the SALW problem in
History of the Programme
It was in this context that, Kentaro Gemma, a SALW specialist and former Project Manager for
JSAC, conducted a feasibility study from 2001.
His study concluded that comprehensive measures to tackle SALW issues
were needed in
JSAC had conducted its first phase program from April 2003
to September 2005 in northwestern
After the completion of the first phase, JSAC has started implementation
of its second phase since October 2005 in western
Strategy of JSAC
JSAC’s program consists of 5 projects, designed as comprehensive set to reduce weapons and to build peace. They are: Weapons Reduction and Development for Peace (WDP) Project, Weapons Destruction Project, Safe Storage and Registration Project, Public Awareness Project and National Commission Support Project. Today, I would like to mention 3 projects: WDP Project, Weapons Destruction Project and Safe Storage and Registration Project, which are relevant to the agenda of this meeting.
The first project is the WDP Project, where JSAC encourages
civilians to voluntarily surrender SALW through educational workshops. Adding to that, in order to improve actual
security and residents’ confidence in security forces, JSAC supports police
agencies by providing necessary materials and training for capacity
building. Development projects are
conducted in communities where people have surrendered all weapons. It is neither buyback nor exchange of weapons,
but encourages people to voluntarily surrender SALW through repeated
educational workshops. I do not want to
say that our project, WDP, is better than buyback and exchange projects. Buyback projects might be effective in some
cases, and exchange projects might work in other cases. However, WDP is workable in
The second project is the Weapons Destruction Project. This project aims to burn and destroy weapons collected from civilians through WDP Project as well as surplus weapons in police possession, so that they can never be used again. Destruction ceremonies known as the “Flame of Peace,” are run by the Government of Cambodia, and JSAC supports them. The purpose of the destruction ceremonies is not only to make weapons physically unusable, but also to give people a positive and symbolic image of their direct contribution to building a peaceful community without weapons.
The third project is the Safe Storage and Registration Project. This project is aiming to build safe and proper stockpiling system for legally possessed weapons by police, and prevent their outflow to civilian’s hands. JSAC supports the Ministry of Interior in managing effective stockpiling and computerized registration systems for weapons legally possessed by the national police. This has contributed to the establishment of a safe weapons stockpiling and proper management system, and prevents further outflow of weapons into civilian hands. Warehouse and racks to store legally possessed weapons by police are built, and necessary training for registration and management are conducted for police officers.
I would like to emphasize as conclusion that comprehensive approaches, which cover weapons collection, destruction and stockpile management, are inevitable to tackle SALW problem in affected countries. On one hand, JSAC is aiming to reduce the number of illegally possessed weapons by civilians through WDP Project, on the other, to reduce dangers caused by legally possessed weapons by police through Safe Storage and Registration Project both at the same time. Eventually, collected illegal weapons and surplus legal weapons are destroyed by Weapons Destruction Project. If a program lacks any one of them, it may face difficulties. As we can easily imagine, even if an organization collects illegally possessed weapons hardly and does not manage legally possessed weapons, security force can sell their weapons to black market and people can obtain those weapons again. Circulation of weapons is never stopped. The ways in which to collect, destroy and manage SALW may be differentiated and modified in each area. However, comprehensive approaches which include those aspects are important for an effective SALW program.
I heard that it has been decided a session on “Exchange Views on Progress and Problems in the Implementation of the Programme of Action with specific emphasis on International Cooperation and Assistance and Best Practice of SALW projects” will be held at Review Conference in next month. I hope to have further discussion on best practice and actual experience at that time.