Seminar focuses on stopping flow of weapons into African countries

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A seminar hosted in Addis Ababa by the African Union (AU) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) examines the pivotal role that sanctions can play in maintaining and restoring peace and security.

“The AU recognises that while the causes and factors driving armed conflict have varied, the wide and devastating use of conventional weapons, particularly small arms and light weapons, has remained a common characteristic among all of them,” says Dr Tarek Sharif, Director of the Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission.

Eliminating the flow of arms into conflict zones reduces human suffering, provides a good environment for resolving conflicts and building peace while at the same time mitigating the risk of  relapsing into violence, arms embargoes help silence the guns, Sharif added.

In 2013, AU leaders committed to a future where the continent is free from the scourge of conflict; pledging to ‘end all wars in Africa by 2020.’

But the high ideals of vision 2020 – also referred to as ‘silencing the guns’ – can only become a reality if pragmatic steps are taken to curb the misuse and uncontrolled spread of arms. One such measure is the enforcement of United Nations (UN)-imposed arms embargoes.