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Tuesday, 01 October 2013

Handover of IT equipment for civilian arms registration in Darfur

More than 80 kilograms of IT equipment, including a number of desktop computers, laptops and cameras were handed over to the Sudan DDR Commission (SDDRC) on 17 September 2013 in Khartoum during a ceremony attended by the German Ambassador Rolf Welberts and the Chairman of the SDDRC Dr. Sulafeldeen Salih, as well as numerous media representatives.

The equipment was procured by BICC as part of its capacity development project for Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control in Sudan, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, which started in October 2012. 

“The illicit proliferation of weapons is a major source of instability in Darfur,” said Ambassador Welberts during his short speech. “The Federal Republic of Germany is supporting initiatives in both Sudan and South Sudan to address this problem and is happy to have found a committed partner in the Sudan DDR Commission.” The overall goal of Germany is to promote stability in the region and to support both the Darfur Peace Process and improved relations between the governments in Khartoum and Juba.   

The IT equipment will be used by the Civilian Arms Registration Committees, which were formed by the Governments of South and West Darfur, with the aim to raise the awareness of the civilian population for the dangers associated with illegal weapons, as well as to register weapons as an initial step towards future disarmament. Since 2011 more than 6.000 weapons have been registered in South Darfur and some 150 weapons since June 2013 in West Darfur.

“The unique feature of the arms registration process in Darfur is that it is done in close cooperation with traditional authorities,” said Nikhil Acharya, representing BICC during the event. “People will only give up their weapons if they have trust both in the authorities and in the peace process.” The arms registration process is only the first step towards this goal and needs to be complemented by activities addressing both the socio-economic causes of the conflict and the need for reconciliation.

“We would like to thank the Federal Republic of Germany and BICC for their technical and financial support to the peace process in Sudan,” said Dr. Sulafeldeen Salih of the Sudan DDR Commission in his response. 

BICC has been actively involved in supporting initiatives for SALW control and the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants in Sudan since 2006. Two international technical advisors are currently based in Khartoum with the Sudan DDR Commission and two experts are attached to the National DDR Commission of South Sudan and the Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control in Juba respectively. In Sudan, the focus of the project is SALW control in Darfur and on improved cross-border cooperation between Sudan, Chad and Libya in the framework of the “Khartoum Declaration”.