Supply and Demand: Arms Flows and Holdings in Sudan

Linked on our blogs with Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment HSBA. – Received by e-mail: From: Small Arms Survey, Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009.

The Small Arms Survey is pleased to draw your attention to the latest Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment HSBA Issue Brief: Supply and Demand, Arms Flows and Holdings in Sudan.

Five years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Sudan’s future remains increasingly precarious. Key provisions of the deal have yet to be implemented just one year ahead of the referendum on Southern self-determination. Despite recent progress, mistrust between the parties is profound and the peace process continues to lurch from one crisis to another. There has been no resolution of the Darfur conflict. 

Across the country, numerous actors are militarized and either actively engaged in armed combat or preparing for the possibility of future conflict. This 12-page brief reviews small arms supply and demand among the spectrum of armed actors in Sudan, including the SAF, the SPLA and Darfur-based insurgent groups. It highlights recent trends and developments as well as describing the primary supply chains and mechanisms by which arms transfers to – and within – Sudan take place. Key findings include:

  • Demand for small arms and light weapons among a range of state and non-state actors is on the rise in the post-CPA and Darfur Peace Agreement periods. In the lead-up to national elections in April 2010 and the referendum on Southern self-determination in January 2011, supply and demand are likely to remain high.
  • China and Iran together accounted for an overwhelming majority (more than 90 per cent) of the NCP’s self-reported small arms and light weapons and ammunition imports over the period 2001-­08. Transfers to Southern Sudan by Ukraine through Kenya have been documented in 2007­-08.
  • Despite the extensive and growing weapons holdings of state security forces, a significant majority of weapons circulating in the country remain outside of government control. Khartoum’s official security forces possess some 470,000 small arms and light weapons, while perhaps 2 million weapons are in the hands of civilians countrywide.
  • Khartoum’s acquisitions of new weaponry will likely lead to greater arms proliferation and insecurity in Sudan, given that government stocks are a major source of weaponry for armed groups (both allies and adversaries).
  • The UN arms embargo has not prevented weapons from reaching Darfur, due to the unwillingness of the governments of Sudan, Chad, and other parties to abide by the terms of the embargo and the lack of robust monitoring by the African Union/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
  • The European Union (EU) arms embargo appears to have been largely effective in prohibiting direct weapons transfers from the EU to Sudan, but European arms manufacturers, brokers, and transporters continue to be involved in indirect arms transfers to the country. There is a clear need for better enforcement of the embargo and due diligence by EU-based companies and individuals.
  • Available information indicates that the governments of Chad, Libya, and Eritrea have been involved in arming non-state groups in Darfur either as part of an official policy or by turning a blind eye to such activities.

PLEASE NOTE the new website for the Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment HSBA project: Supply and Demand: Arms Flows and Holdings in Sudan, and all previous HSBA publications, can be downloaded from our website (full list of Documents).

For further information about the publication and the HSBA project, contact: Claire Mc Evoy, HSBA Project Manager, Small Arms Survey, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland.

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