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Sunday, 16 February 2014

Workshop on the arms registration and marking process in Darfur

On 16 February 2014, BICC organized a workshop at the Friendship Hall in Khartoum to validate the findings of a study on the arms registration and marking process in Darfur. Consultant Sami Faltas and BICC’s Technical Advisor in Sudan had conducted the study in August 2013 using focus group discussions, individual interviews with relevant stakeholders as well as desk research in Khartoum and West Darfur.

Sami Faltas, consultant BICC, General Abdelaziz, Acting Commisioner-General, SDDRC, Mr Salah Idriss, Arms Control Focal Point, SDDRC, Wolf-Christian Paes and Nikhil Acharya, BICC (from l-r). Photo: Nikhil Acharya

Members of the Arms Registration Committees from West and South Darfur as well as relevant authorities from Central Darfur and other relevant stakeholders travelled to Khartoum to provide feedback on the study. The Deputy Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Dirk Stockhausen extended his support to the study as he opened the workshop along with General (Police) Hamid Manan of the SARCOM Advisory Body and General Abdelaziz, Acting Commissioner General of the Sudan DDR Commission. Constructive feedback was received which is now being incorporated into the final version of the report.

Darfur’s location and long history of conflict have led to some of the highest global rates of small arms and light weapons proliferation in the region. In this context, the Wali of South Darfur, Abdualhameed Moussa Kasha, first took the initiative of eliciting the support of local community leaders to conduct an arms registration process in 2010. Following the success of the arms registration process in South Darfur with over ten thousand weapons being registered so far, the Sudan DDR Commission began supporting an ongoing arms registration and marking (ARM) process being piloted in West Darfur since December 2012. The process involves working collaboratively with traditional leaders to convince their communities to mark and register their weapons. The Ministry of Interior has also issued a guarantee that no weapons will be collected at this stage, not before the communities themselves deem the security situation to have improved significantly.

BICC has been providing operational support to this process, attempting to ensure that this program is tailored to the unique and fragile security environment in Darfur. This work also ties into BICC’s larger objective of laying the groundwork for arms control at the regional level through processes such as the Sub-Regional Mechanism on Arms Control (SARCOM). 

To better understand this process, BICC conducted this study, which aimed at identifying strengths, weaknesses and lessons learned from the Darfur ARM experience as well as addressing operational gaps. Significantly, the report emphasised it is essential that the ARM process develop greater geographical and conceptual links with ongoing Community Security and Arms Control (CSAC) activities to be truly effective.