Media urged to steer fight against illicit arms
Unused And Illegal Arms Are Disposed Off By Burning Them(Photo: RNP Media Center)
On 06 Aug 2012, the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) in collaboration with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the National Focal Point Coordination met the local media in a bid to assess its role in creating awareness towards fighting trafficking of illicit and proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the country.
Media as a form of communication which is accessible to nearly every Rwandan is being relied on to sensitize and advice the public to avoid the illegal possession of illegal arms.
Journalists were encouraged to report on issues and impacts of illegally possessing fire arms in the community.
William Oduk, Director of Finance at RECSA called on the media to foster peace and security in the region more than any other institution. “We urge the media to encourage the population to desist from illegal possession of small arms because they threaten peace and security.”
The National Focal Point Coordinator on RNFP/SALW, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sam Karemera urged journalists to produce educative programs on dangers of illegal owning of firearms. Following their request to have more training on reporting issues related to the fight against the proliferation of small arms, they were promised that the request will be considered and the training will target the editors of different media outlets.
He also warned the public that the amnesty period of returning illegal arms had expired thus urging the need to immediately get rid of some arms still in-existence in some communities.
Since 2005, Rwanda has publicly destroyed more than 100,000 arms and 52 tons of explosives and the disposal is still ongoing.
However, the public is also reminded through article 671 of the penal code that any person who illegally possesses, lends or gives an arm, or falsifies its identification marks, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of six (6) months to one (1) year and a fine of three hundred thousand (300,000) to three million (3,000,000) Rwandan francs or one of these penalties.