THE IMPACT OF SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS ON SECURITY IN THE IGAD REGION: THE CASE OF SOUTH SUDAN

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This study investigates the impact of small arms and light weapons proliferation on the security of the IGAD region particularly on the human security of South Sudan. An examination of the norms, institutions and policies on small arms and light weapons relevant for South Sudan. Using the concept of Human Security, the study illustrates the links between proliferation of small arms and light weapons and human security in the IGAD region with South Sudan as the case study. The study relied on secondary data and presented the information gathered using thematic analysis. This study sets out two hypotheses, namely, that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons has direct and indirect negative consequences on security in the IGAD region and that the continued flow of small arms and light weapons in the IGAD region is largely a consequence of weak and insufficient institutional and normative frameworks.

 

It found that the SALW problem has been aggravated by weakly controlled arms flows inside South Sudan, the on and off conflicts, as well as diverse cross-border supply channels, pointing to the regional character of SALW related insecurity. The widespread availability of SALW in South Sudan encourages violent rather than peaceful ways of resolving problems, and negate confidence and security-building measures. South Sudan remains vastly underdeveloped and  underdevelopment  presents  both  a  breeding  ground  for  and  a  consequence  of  the proliferation and misuse of SALW. Civilian disarmament in Southern Sudan continued to be advanced  in  a  context  of  fear.  Civilians  feared  surrendering  weapons  because  of  the fragmentation of communities along tribal lines. Most of the existing laws on small arms and light weapons in South Sudan are not responsive to current challenges posed by proliferation and easy availability of SALW and need to be harmonized with the Nairobi Protocol specifically to ensure that they are coherent, consistent and respond more adequately to the challenges of SALWs. Lack of human and financial resources in addition to conflicting priorities, continues to hinder any significant progress in the implementation of the normative and institutional frameworks.

 

This  study  subsequently  offers  policy-relevant  recommendations  on  the  problem  of SALW in South Sudan. These include enhancing DDR programs to be more endogenous in conjunction with the IGAD-Plus because of resource availability, improving information sharing between IGAD partner states so as to enhance monitoring and tracking of SALW, mainstreaming small arms and light weapons issues into broader regional organizations‟ mandates to strengthen the overall impact of regional organizations‟ work on this issue and leaving the management of National Focal Points to departments that primarily deal with internal security, owing to NFP coordinators difficulty to obtain consensus on issues given that various government departments comprise many focal points.

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