Towards effective implementation of UN-imposed arms embargoes in Africa

How can arms embargoes be used more effectively to maintain or restore peace? This policy brief offers recommendations.

If well implemented, arms embargoes are one of the most effective ways of controlling the proliferation of weaponry. Although Africa is the main recipient of UN-imposed arms embargoes, the continent still faces a number of challenges in enforcing such regimes. These include the misperception that sanctions are punitive, the disconnect between the UN sanctions-monitoring committees and governments in target states, weak coordination between law-enforcement agencies at the national and regional levels, and the porosity of international borders. This policy brief underscores the importance of African states implementing arms embargoes and provides the African Union with possible policies to propose to member states with regard to enhancing the effectiveness of sanctions.

About the author

Nelson Alusala is a research consultant at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). He has a PhD in political sciences from the University of Pretoria. He previously worked for the UN Group of Experts on the DRC and the UN Panel on Liberia. His mandate included monitoring violations of the arms embargoes in the eastern DRC and in Liberia under different UNSC resolutions. His research includes conflict risk analysis, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration across Africa.

Development partners
This policy brief was made possible with funding from the government of Denmark. The ISS is grateful for support from the other members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the governments of Australia, Canada, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the US.
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