August 1-2, 2016
Solomon Islands is in the process of rearming special divisions of the police in line with the 2017 drawdown of the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI). The new Honiara Armoury is completed to international standards but, due to the history of armed conflict in Solomon Islands, the continuation of the Facilitation of Foreign Assistance Act and because Solomon Islands is not a party to international controls, a willing manufacturer/exporter and firearms procurement deal has yet to be negotiated.
To facilitate legislative and procedural preparations for rearmament Solomon Islands is reviewing its implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPoA) and its position on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Furthermore, the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services (MPNSCS), was supportive of Solomon Islands acceding to the ATT.
The Under Secretary, MPNSCS, participated in an Asia-Pacific workshop on the ATT in Cambodia organised collaboratively by PSAAG, Non-Violence International and Control Arms. This generated interest in a national workshop cohosted by PSAAG and MPNSCS, with assistance from Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET). Alongside PSAAG’s coordinating partners in MPNSCS and MFAET, over 30 participants represented stakeholders from the Attorney General’s Chambers, Royal Solomon Island Police, Customs and Excise, Immigration and Ministry of Women, Youths, Children and Family Affairs. Civil Society was also represented by Vios Blong Mere Solomon and PSAAG was grateful to RAMSI and Australian DFAT representatives for presenting.
From the two days of workshopping the Outcome Document highlights, among other things, the need to collectively address the identified capacity needs and challenges, review the Firearms and Ammunition Act and harmonise relevant Acts. Other outcomes include seeking cabinet approval to take necessary steps to accede to the ATT and increase participation of Solomon Islands at relevant UN international disarmament and arms control meetings such as the UNPoA Biennial Meeting and the annual Conference of States Parties for the ATT.
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