East Africa

Uganda launches disarmament project


Summary

  • By offering amnesty to illegal firearms owners, the government hopes to ensure a safe and peaceful society free from armed violence.
  • Project intends to educate and create awareness among local communities about the dangers and effects of the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
  • Uganda is a signatory to a number of arms control instruments that mandate it to initiate programmes that encourage voluntary surrender of illegal firearms as a way of mitigating armed violence on the continent.
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By GILBERT MWIJUKE


As Uganda intensifies its fight against armed violence in the country, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has announced a two-month amnesty for people in possession of illegal firearms and small weapons.

The 2021 Africa Amnesty Project was launched by the Uganda National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons on November 24 at the Silver Springs Hotel in the capital Kampala.

The amnesty runs from December 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022.

With financial support from the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the African Union Commission, the project covers four critical regions of the country, including Rwenzori, Karamoja, Northern and Kampala Metropolitan.

Uganda is one of the three countries – including Madagascar and Niger – that have been chosen to participate in this year’s operationalisation of the African Union Assembly Decision 645, which provides for the voluntary surrender of illegally possessed weapons on condition of anonymity and immunity from prosecution.

The project intends to educate and create awareness among local communities about the dangers and effects of the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons as well as to identify gaps and needs to determine possible steps to address shortcomings in small firearms control.

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“The project provides a window of opportunities to citizens of Africa to seize, utilise and contribute towards the realisation of a peaceful, secure and prosperous continent,” Kahinda Otafire, Uganda’s minister for Internal Affairs, said during the launch of the project. 

By offering amnesty to illegal firearms owners, the government hopes to ensure a safe and peaceful society free from armed violence by preventing, controlling, eradicating or reducing the proliferation of illicit firearms through comprehensive, integrated and coordinated approaches.

Uganda is a signatory to a number of arms control instruments that mandate it to initiate programmes that encourage voluntary surrender of illegal firearms as a way of mitigating armed violence on the continent.

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