The Disarmament Process in Cambodia

“States are encouraged to provide examples of educational, civic training, or public awareness programmes they have initiated to inform the public about the negative effects of gun culture and misuse of guns.”

United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms 2001

Illicit trafficking, proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons is now widely recognised to be a major source of insecurity and human suffering across much of the world. Small arms and light weapons are associated with over 500,000 deaths and millions of injuries each year.

The majority of these small arms victims are civilians.

Years of conflict left Cambodia with incalculable numbers of small arms. Widespread, unaccountable proliferation of small arms in society escalates and exacerbates conflicts, obstructs peace and good governance and undermines efforts to promote development. In 1999, at the request of the Royal Cambodian Government, the European Union Assistance on Curbing Small Arms and Light Weapons in Cambodia (EU-ASAC) was established to provide support in implementing an integrated programme of small arms management.

Publicly destroying surplus and illegal weapons guarantees their permanent removal from society. In 1999, the Royal Government of Cambodia initiated a public weapons destruction programme by crushing 3,855 weapons in Phnom Penh. In 2001, with support from EU ASAC, the Flame of Peace programme began in Kompong Thom. Flames of Peace are a spectacularly effective method of raising local and international awareness of Cambodia’s moves toward sustainable peace and security.

By 2006 over 160,000 illegal and surplus military small arms had been publicly destroyed across Cambodia. Through close cooperation with the Royal Cambodian Government and EU ASAC, thousands of these destroyed weapons have been provided to PAC as raw material.

PAC is currently registering as a local Cambodian organisation to provide sustainable opportunities to participants and continue to raise local and international awareness on the issue of small arms.

Publicly destroying surplus and illegal weapons guarantees their permanent removal from society. See more photos in the photo gallery.