Implement Arms Trade Treaty to regulate use of firearms: Senator

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Midlands Senator Lillian Timveous (MDC-T) has called on the government to domesticate the Arms Trade Treaty which regulates international trade in conventional arms as part of measures to regulate use of firearms.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The treaty was enacted on December 24, 2014, and signed by Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the United Nations, Frederick Shava, on behalf of government.

During the eighth Parliament session, Timveous was a member of the Swedish-based international body of the Parliamentary Forum on small arms and light weapons.

“It is imperative for government to look into domestication of the Arms Trade Treaty even during the ninth Parliament,” she said. “The treaty will be very useful for the country in that it will regulate use of firearms, and the number of firearms in the country will be known which would make it easy to know who owns guns in the country.”

Timveous said if the country had domesticated the treaty, it would have been easier for police to curb the spike in cases of armed robbers in the country as they would be able to trace the owners of arms used by criminal syndicates.

Timveous recently presented to Senate a document indicating that the proliferation of weapons was contributing to the African continent’s high crime rate.

“Now is time for parliamentary action to silence the guns for the promotion of sustainable peace and development,” the document read.

It said approximately 30 million uncontrolled small arms and weapons were being found in crisis zones in the hands of non-State actors.

“Around five million fatalities on the continent over the past 50 years can be attributed to small and light weapons, which amounts to approximately 100 000 deaths per year. In Zimbabwe, the deaths by firearms as a result of physical violence are 1,57 per 100 000, while the suicide rate is 1,78 deaths per 100 000.

“Although these numbers are rather low compared to several countries in the continent, political violence has been present in the past decade, adding uncertainty, hindering investment and sustainable development, and leading to staggering human and economic costs,” the document read.