GIS – 28 November, 2017: A capacity building workshop on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), aimed at consolidating the synergy between law enforcement officials and other stakeholders in the enforcement and implementation of the provisions of the Treaty ratified in July 2015 by Mauritius, was launched this morning at the Police Research and Development Unit at the Line Barracks in Port Louis.
In his opening address the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional Reforms, Mr Maneesh Gobin, recalled that the ATT has as main objective to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade of conventional arms and their unauthorised use including the commissioning of terrorists acts, acts of piracy through the control of the export, import, transit, transshipment and procuring of these arms.
The Minister recalled that adhering to this important international convention was a priority for Government, and given Mauritius’s dualist legal system, it was integrated in our domestic legal system by the Fire Arms Amendment Act passed by the National Assembly in 2016.
“Government gave an early consideration for the accession and domestication of this Convention because we wanted to convey a strong signal to the international community and the regional blocks of our unflinching commitment in international peace and security”, he said.
Furthermore the Minister pointed out that Mauritius is one of the Small Island Developing States recognised by the United Nations as a specific group of countries whose socioeconomic development is very much dependent on climatic change, external shocks and regional and international peace and stability. On that score, he said he was in favour of a very comprehensive legal framework to control the movement of arms within the country and especially in our maritime zone.
Illicit arms are directly linked to terrorism, maritime piracy, drug trafficking, transnational organised crime and, thus, for a country such as Mauritius with a vast maritime zone, it is crucial to implement the Treaty’s provisions, he cautioned.
For his part, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr M. Taujoo, recalled that although there are many existing continental and regional agreements on arms in the African region, the globalisation of the arms trade may best be controlled through this particular instrument.
“The Treaty has not replaced or distracted us from the implementation of other commitments under the international and regional instruments but has complemented these instruments, he remarked. It will help us to build on the progress already made and represents a tool that we must use effectively in order to address larger challenges it aims to respond to”, he said.
The three-day workshop is organised jointly by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Mauritius Police Force, the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional Reforms and the ATT Secretariat. Its objectives are to: enhance knowledge on the provisions of the ATT; intensify inter-agency cooperation for the robust implementation of the provisions of the ATT; and, promote best practices for the universalisation of the instrument.
Participants are from the Police Force, the Mauritius Revenue Authority and the State Law Office, amongst others. The workshop is conducted by Mr Asante-Twum, Senior Programs Officer, Ghana National Commission; Mr Baruti Likoyi, Senior Research Fellow, Vrije University, Brussels; and, Mrs Sarah Parker, Policy Support Officer, Arms Trade Treaty Secretariat.
The landmark Arms Trade Treaty regulating the international trade in conventional arms – from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships was adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013 and entered into force in December 2014.
The universalisation and the implementation of the ATT is considered important as it binds exporters and importers and puts firm regulations on the global, regional and national circulation of arms. It also curbs irresponsible transfers of conventional arms which usually impact on security in different States, and recognises and protects the freedom of both individuals and States to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes.
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