Kinshasa Convention

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Kinshasa Convention
Central African Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition, Parts and Components that can be used for their Manufacture, Repair and Assembly
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Participation in the Kinshasa Convention.
Signed 19 November 2010 (2010-11-19)
Location Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
Condition Ratification by 6 states[1]
Signatories 11
Complete List
Parties 4
Depositary UN Secretary-General[2]
Languages English, French and Spanish[2]

The Central African Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition, Parts and Components that can be used for their Manufacture, Repair or Assembly, also known as the Kinshasa Convention, aims at regulating small arms and light weapons (SALW) and combating their illicit trade and trafficking in Central Africa.[3]

The convention was negotiated within the framework of the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), and unanimously adopted on April 30, 2010 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo at the 30th ministerial meeting of the Committee. As of September 22, 2011, it was signed by the eleven member States of the Committee, Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Central African Republic, Rwanda, the Republic of the Congo and São Tomé and Príncipe, which are currently engaged in the process of ratification. As of 2013, the Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo have ratified the Convention.

Purpose of the Convention[edit]

The purpose of the Kinshasa Convention, as stated in Chapter I, Article 1, is to:[3]

  • Prevent, combat and eradicate, in Central Africa, the illicit trade and trafficking in small arms and light weapons, their ammunition and all parts and components that can be used for their manufacture, repair and assembly;
  • Strengthen the control, in Central Africa, of the manufacture, trade, movement, transfer, possession and use of small arms and light weapons, their ammunition and all parts and components that can be used for their manufacture, repair and assembly;
  • Combat armed violence and ease the human suffering caused in Central Africa by the illicit trade and trafficking in small arms and light weapons, their ammunition and all parts and components that can be used for their manufacture, repair and assembly;
  • Foster cooperation and confidence among States Parties and cooperation and dialogue among Governments and civil society organizations.

Area of application[edit]

"Central Africa" refers to the geographical area covering the 11 States that are members of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, namely, the Republic of Angola, the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the Gabonese Republic, the Republic of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tomé and Principe.[4]

History[edit]

The United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) was established by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 28 May 1992, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 46/37 B of 6 December 1991.[5] Its primary objective is to promote peace and security in Central Africa through confidence-building measures, notably in the fields of disarmament and arms limitation.[6] UNSAC comprises the ten member States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Republic of Rwanda.

In his statement opening the 25th ministerial meeting of UNSAC, in May 2007, the President of São Tomé and Príncipe invited the Committee to support the elaboration of a subregional legally binding instrument on illicit SALW and its accompanying implementation plan, in order to strengthen the capacity of Central African States to combat illicit small arms and light weapons and their governance of the security sector, as well as a Code of Conduct for the Defense and Security Forces in Central Africa. This proposal became known as the São Tomé Initiative.[7]

The Central African Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition, Parts and Components that can be used for their Manufacture, Repair or Assembly, dubbed Kinshasa Convention, was unanimously adopted on April 30, 2010 by all eleven member States of UNSAC at its 30th ministerial meeting held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Convention was opened for signature on November 19, 2010 in the context of UNSAC's 31st ministerial meeting held in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. Eight of the eleven UNSAC members States signed the Convention on this occasion; Burundi, Equatorial Guinea and Rwanda signed it shortly thereafter.[8] The Convention Implementation Plan, which was developed alongside the Convention to ensure the feasibility of the implementation process, was adopted at this occasion.

This Convention will enter into force 30 days after the date of deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.[1]

Analysis[edit]

The Kinshasa Convention is the most recent small arms control and disarmament legal instrument elaborated within the United Nations framework.

This Convention, which addresses the security, legal, institutional and cultural specificities of the Central African subregion, demonstrates the eleven UNSAC countries' willingness to establish a coherent subregional strategy to act collectively against illicit arms and ammunition. The mobilization of the eleven Central African countries to negotiate this arms control and disarmament instrument contributes also to a significant confidence-building measure amongst countries, the majority of which had been at war with each other.

The Convention's scope is broad and takes into account the most recent developments in global and regional initiatives aimed at combating illicit small arms and light weapons. The Convention also draws upon the best practices and experience of the African and other regions. Its elaboration process was also unique to the extent that both the Convention and its implementation plan were carried out in parallel, with a view to ensuring a "reality check" at the conclusion of various legal provisions implying obligations for States to carry out specific measures.

The Ministers' direct involvement in the elaboration of the Kinshasa Convention and its adoption strengthens the importance of the Convention and constitutes a significant step towards a subregional coherent strategy to act against illicit arms and ammunition. The conclusion of such a significant and complex legal instrument in such a short period of time is a significant demonstration of the subregion's determination to tackle one of its biggest challenges.

This Convention fills a void as Central Africa was one of the African subregions not to have its own legal instrument for the control of small arms and light weapons.

Structure of the Convention[edit]

Note: This section summarizes the articles of the Kinshasa Convention. For more information, see the full text of the Convention.

Signature and Ratification[edit]

Country Signature Ratification
the Republic of Angola 19 Nov 2010
the Republic of Burundi 22 Sept 2011
the Republic of Cameroon 19 Nov 2010
the Central African Republic 19 Nov 2010 24 Oct 2012
the Republic of Chad 19 Nov 2010 8 Aug 2012
the Republic of the Congo 19 Nov 2010 5 Dec 2012
the Democratic Republic of the Congo 19 Nov 2010
the Republic of Equatorial Guinea 29 Apr 2011
the Gabonese Republic 19 Nov 2010 25 Sep 2012
the Republic of Rwanda 1 Aug 2011
the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe 19 Nov 2010

As of 22 September 2011, all eleven Central African States have signed the Kinshasa Convention. As of 5 December 2012, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Chad, the Republic of the Congo and the Gabonese Republic have ratified it.[9]

Related Regional and Subregional Documents[edit]

Document Signature Entry into force
The Bamako Declaration on an African Common Position on the Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons 1 December 2000 N/A
The Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region 15 March 2000 N/A
The Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa 21 April 2004 5 May 2006[10]
The ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and other Related Materials 14 June 2006 29 September 2009[11]
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Control of Firearms, Ammunition and other related materials 14 August 2001 8 November 2004[12]

References[edit]

External links[edit]