Cambodian Secretary of State Sieng Lapresse (right), former EU-ASAC Coordinator David de Beer (middle) and ISACS Coordinator Patrick Mc Carthy (left) at the UNRCPD workshop in Phnom Penh.
On 7-8 December 2016, the ISACS Coordinator participated in a workshop in Phnom Penh on “Building Capacity to Control Small Arms and Light Weapons in Cambodia.” Organised by the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD), the workshop sought to identify areas where support from the international community could help Cambodia to reduce the number of illegal arms in circulation.
On its own initiative and with the help of the international community, Cambodia has already made significant progress in reducing the number or illegal weapons in civilian hands, the level of armed violence in the country and the incidence of cross-border trafficking in arms. During the period 1991-2007, the government brought up to 366,000 illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) under its control — up to 236,000 through the creation of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and Police and about 130,000 through collection and destruction. Further destruction of about 180,000 surplus government weapons substantially reduced the potential for leakage of unused arms into the illicit market. It is estimated that the number of illicit weapons still in Cambodia is between 22,000 and 85,000.
Senior representatives of Cambodia’s Ministries of Interior, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Finance identified three priority areas where Cambodia could benefit from international cooperation and assistance: (1) the destruction of collected, surplus and obsolete SALW, (2) marking and recordkeeping and (3) physical security and stockpile management. ISACS provides practical guidance in all three areas.