oa Focus on Arms in Africa - Small arms proliferation poses challenges in West Africa
West Africa is a region with a history of senseless wars that have often targeted civilians rather than combatants. In October 1998, Heads of State and Governments of the 16 member states of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) formally signed the Moratorium on the importation, exportation, and manufacture of small arms and light weapons (SALW). ECOWAS Member States adopted a code of conduct as well as a plan of action for the implementation of the Moratorium. The creation of national commissions for the fight against illicit trade and possession of small arm, verification strategies, and introduction of enduser certificates constitute major highlights of the document. This article provides a review of events in West Africa that have challenged the effectiveness and relevance of the Moratorium in addressing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the region.
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