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Combating light weapons proliferation in West Africa

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Light weapons proliferation is a serious problem in West Africa. A regional moratorium on imports of small arms and light weapons has not worked and UN arms embargoes on Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire have had limited impact. The Economic Community of West African States is currently drafting a new binding legal instrument aimed at controlling flows in West Africa but this will only succeed if the heads of state and government seriously adopt it. This needs to include greater compliance of UN sanctions, international reform of the End User Certificate system, mapping the spread of artisan production and an examination of ammunition imports to West Africa. Better control of ammunition imports in particular may assist the combat of light weapons proliferation as well as the comprehensive destruction of weapons from disarmament efforts. The illicit weapons trade in West Africa is increasingly transnational and it requires regional and international cooperation and support to combat it.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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