The Nairobi Protocol on small arms and light weapons: A legal analysis and its relevance to Uganda.
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Small arms are weapons designed for the use of a single person such as rifles and pistols. Light weapons are weapons intended for the use of a small crew, such as heavy machine guns and mounted grenade launchers. These two constitute a very big threat to life and stability in various States all over the world. Worldwide, small arms cause at least 200,000 deaths annually in homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries in non-conflict situations. States have for a long time devised measures for control of small arms and light weapons, both at the international level and national level. One such measure is the development of legally binding instruments such as the Nairobi Protocol on Small Arms and Light Weapons, adopted by States in the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa. This Protocol imposes a number of obligations to State Parties, including the development of national policies, plans, laws and institutions. Uganda is a party to this Protocol and is also affected by the problem of small arms proliferation. As such, it is required by the Protocol to take a number of steps. The main purpose of this dissertation is to examine the relevance of the Nairobi Protocol to Uganda. The dissertation reviews the Nairobi protocol on small arms and light weapons and compares the Nairobi Protocol with other international and regional instruments on small arms control. It also critically assesses Uganda’s efforts to implement the Nairobi Protocol at the national level. It notes that the Protocol contains important international law principles such as information sharing and mutual legal assistance, which are key to small arms control. It is also noted that by virtue of this Protocol, the Nairobi Secretariat was established and currently plays significant co-ordinational roles with National Focal Points. It also notes that Uganda has takes significant steps towards compliance with the Protocol, perhaps far ahead of other State Parties to the Protocol. The study recommends adoption of the Firearms Bill into an Act of Parliament, increasing financial resources for small arms control as well as capacity development in order to effectively handle the challenges presented by Small arms and light weapons.