Policies and Instruments of Arms Control
We advocate for robust national policy and legislative frameworks for control of small arms and light weapons (SALW), frameworks that are underpinned by human rights and rule of law. The problem of arms proliferation and misuse manifests locally but has international dimension. In that regard, SSANSA works with stakeholders not only nationally but also regionally and internationally through strategic partnerships and networking. At the heart of our arms control campaigns is stopping arms from reaching in the hands of individuals, institutions, and groups who use them for committing human right abuses and violations. SSANSA is a member of the Control Arms coalition that campaigns for an Arms Trade Treaty. In response to lack of a national policy framework and legislation to guide interventions to control the proliferation and misuse of SALW, the South Sudan Bureau for community security and Small Arms Control have initiated a process for developing a National Small Arms Policy and Small Arms Bill. SSANSA is working closely with the bureau to ensure that these frameworks are pro-people, conforms to international best practices and is considerate to human rights and the rule of law. SSANSA also campaign against indiscriminate weapons. This includes antipersonnel landmines and cluster bombs. These weapons are outlawed because of their indiscriminate nature and the serious threats to community security, livelihood and development. We are a member of the International Campaign to ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC).
Community Security and Justice
Widespread insecurity is a current phenomenon in South Sudan. This problem manifests inform of cold blood murders, highway robberies, cattle rustling, inter-communal violence, interpersonal violence, and brutality by some members of the security sector all contributing to a high number of gun-related casualties. SSANSA is working with communities, churches and governments at various levels to foster dialogue on contemporary community security concerns. Currently SSANSA is running state and county level dialogues under the theme “Security is Everyone’s Business.” (SEB). The SEB dialogues seeks to engage protection actors and community representatives to jointly articulate critical contemporary community security concerns among communities and generate feasible actions to address these concerns. These community level dialogues are underpinned by the conception that as victims and hosts of actors of criminality and violence, community members are best placed to articulate their security concerns and generate approaches that are appropriate and feasible to address them. SSANSA also works with other actors to facilitate the promotion of alternative informal local level mechanisms for community security and justice.
South Sudan is awash with Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). These arms have been misused by both civilians and member of the organized forces. The weapons in the hands of civilians are not only a legacy of the protracted civil war that led to the independence of South Sudan but also a current supply from non-state armed groups, spills from government stockpiles, local and cross-border arms trafficking among others. In response to the high proliferation of SALW, there have been several civilian disarmament attempts undertaken by the Government of South Sudan in order to reduce the volume of arms circulating in the country. The attempts were not comprehensive and uniform across the entire country. It often resulted into scores of fatalities on both civilian and security agents. These attempts which dates back to the immediate post CPA period has recovered substantial amount of weapons. However, there are still an estimated over 1 million firearms circulating in the hands of civilians in South Sudan. SSANSA is working with stakeholders to search for a pro-people and effective mechanism of civilian disarmament in South Sudan. The SEB dialogues reinforce civilian disarmament as many civilians justify arms possession for self protection due to the absence of state security. Our search for a pro-people civilian disarmament mechanism is underpinned by a careful balance and equal emphasis on curbing supply of arms and addressing factors that motivate community members to possess arms.