Kenya does not take the war against the proliferation of illicit fire arms lightly. A recent study by the Small Arms Survey in collaboration with the Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons revealed that, between 530,000 and 680,000 arms may be in the wrong hands across the country, Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joseph Nkaisserry has said.
The flow of conventional weapons and in particular, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, with which most of the wars are fought today poses a great challenge to peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and the Neighboring States where we have witnessed wanton destruction of property, communities dislocated, economic and social development being undermined, among others. In fact, recent research indicates that every year, an average of 740,000 people are killed in different parts of the world either directly or indirectly through the use of illegal fire arms.
It is my conviction that efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate illicit small arms and light weapons will succeed only if the root causes are addressed with conviction and commitment.
The Government has undertaken measures at various levels as part of its ongoing efforts in search for solutions to problems associated with illicit small arms and light weapons. These initiatives include:-
• The collection and destruction of over 25,000 illicit arms and an additional 5,000 which have been collected/recovered now pending destructions;
• The marking of 85% of our State-owned firearms to facilitate stockpile management and accountability with support of RESCA;
• Drafting of a comprehensive National Arms Mapping and Survey to access the availability of illicit small arms and light weapons and perception of security in Kenya done; and
• Establishment of a National Conflict Early Warning and Response System aimed at improving our response to conflict and enhancing community participation in providing solutions to potential conflicts.
• Development of a National Action Plan (NAP) on fire arms control and Management which in own context is our National Instrument on preventing, combating and eradicating the proliferation of illicit fire arms. The Plan has detailed provision for a mechanism on tackling the illicit fire arms, capacity building of civil society organizations and law enforcement agencies and more importantly it has a development-oriented small arms programme.
Kenya believes that the interventions highlighted can contribute significantly to the reduction of illicit fire arms and that; long-term prevention can be facilitated by elements of the international community.
In this regard, I wish to commend RECSA for its work in coordinating its member states in the fight against the proliferation of small arms and for convening this Regional Consultative and Awareness Workshop. In the same vein, I want to appreciate the RECSA secretariat for its participation in the long process of the preparatory work during the treaty negotiations.
Kenya also appreciates the enormous support that it has been accorded to by RECSA and other development partners in implementing the International and Regional Instruments. Our continuing collaboration with the UNDP Country Office, Safer World, Security Research and Information Centre, the Small Arms Survey, the African Union and Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has contributed immensely in fight against the illicit arms trade.