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Plan to turn arms treaty into law moves forward

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Workshop participants share their thoughts. KT/Mai Vireak

Authorities yesterday began a two-day workshop on preventing the smuggling of illegal arms and integrating provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty, signed in 2013, into national law.

Cambodian government adviser Sieng Lapresse held a workshop entitled “EU Arms Trade Treaty Outreach Project” with about 30 officials from European Union countries and relevant ministries at the Sofitel hotel in Phnom Penh yesterday.

“Our law tells us clearly that ordinary people do not have the right to carry arms and only the national defence and interior ministries have the right to control weapons in our warehouse,” he said.

Mr Lapresse asked attendees how weapons were controlled, how many weapon warehouses there were and what types of arms were stored there.

“Both the national defence and interior ministries are responsible for maintaining weapons in their warehouses and preventing them from being smuggled or transferred elsewhere,” he added.

They have held the workshop since 2016, Mr Lapresse said, and in September 2018 would ask the EU to create a roadmap toward implementing the arms treaty Cambodia signed in October 2013.

“Cambodia has a role in leading against weapons smuggling,” he said, adding Cambodia would create a draft law on the arms trade. “In April, they will discuss our draft law in Kuala Lumpur.”

The treaty seeks to “establish the highest possible international standard for regulating the international trade in conventional arms” and “prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms”.

“Cambodia was honest in signing the arms trade treaty against the use of illegal weapons because we were very hurt when Khmer Rouge troops killed more than two million people,” Mr Lapresse said.

The weapons came from all areas, including Western and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, America, China and other countries.

According to a National Police report issued on Tuesday, two incidents of arms smuggling from Cambodia to Thailand occurred in 2017.

A total of ten suspects were arrested – three in Cambodia and seven in Thailand – and 36 rifles and 4,003 bullets were confiscated.

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