The Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) together with People with Disabilities – Uganda and Centre for Conflict Resolution on Wednesday 25th May 2016 petitioned the Parliament of Uganda on the misuse of small arms and light weapons in Uganda.
The organisations led by Rev. Fr. Dr. Silvester Arinaitwe Rwomukabwe from the UJCC under the umbrella body of Uganda Action Network on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UANSA) expressed discomfort over the widespread availability and misuse of small arms and light weapons.
Rwomukabwe said that small arms and light weapons are supposed to be used lawfully for national defence and maintenance of law and order among others.
“Experience shows however, that these weapons are increasingly falling into the hands of criminals who use them to perpetrate acts like murder, robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling and armed rebellion,” he said.
He said all those acts pose a threat to personal safety and national security.
Rwomukabwe said in light of the misuse of weapons and firearms there have been a number of insurgencies around the country like the emergence of the Lords Resistance Army in northern Uganda and the Allied Democracy Army insurgency in western Uganda.
“In 2012, 115 incidents of deaths by shooting were registered by the Uganda Police Force, with the number rising to 131 in 2013,” he said.
He added that the Police Force registered 1,035 robbery incidences in 2013 of which 207 involved robberies of cash amounting to UGX 4.2 billion.
Rwomukabwe commended the government of Uganda for their commitment towards the implementation of the UN Programme of Action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons by developing a National Action Plan on Small Arms and Light weapons.
He then requested the Parliament of Uganda to join in the fight by calling for enactment of a comprehensive law on firearms; sign, ratify and domesticate the Arms Trade Treaty and; the enhancement of collaboration between the State and non-state actors.
In her response, the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga acknowledged the issue of the misuse of small arms and light weapons as an absurd act and promised to refer the petition to the relevant committee after it has been constituted.