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Rambi Seeks MPs' Support for Gun Report

National (Port Moresby)

26 June 2009

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PORT MORESBY — Internal Security Minister Sani Rambi has called on all parliamentarians, especially MPs from the Highlands, to support him when he presents the gun committee report to Parliament next month.

The report, with 244 recommendations on how to stop the escalation of gun violence, was completed in 2005 — and still remains outside Parliament four years later, according to Mr Rambi.

He claimed said some Members of Parliament would not support him because "most of us are the perpetrators, bringing in guns for our own political purpose".

"We must make legislations to address the issue," he said.

"We know there is build-up of firearms, yet we are doing nothing about it.

"I am hopeful that all Members of Parliament will support me on some of the recommendations contained in the report."

Parliament will resume session on July 7.

Mr Rambi said this in response to comments by New Zealander David Capie, an expert on small arms and conflict in the Pacific, who called for tighter legislations to control the illegal use of firearms.

Mr Capie, who is in the country for research to update his 2003 book, Under the Gun: The Small Arms Challenge in the Pacific, gave a brief talk on the issue at the Ela Beach Hotel on Wednesday.

Mr Rambi, MPs' security teams, diplomats and members of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence were among the audience.

Mr Capie, a senior lecturer in international relations at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, said gun control legislations were clearly out of date, adding that penalties were quite trivial and that there were many loopholes in the current legislation.

"Very little has been done to address the loopholes in the legislation," he said.

"I am not saying fixing the firearms legislation will stop guns, but is part of the answer."

He said the biggest challenge was the enforcement of the law.

Smaller island states had vast maritime areas that made it a huge challenge for policing, Mr Capie said.

It was more a problem for Papua New Guinea because of the country's vast land border with Indonesia and because of the Torres Strait, he said.

He said there was a United Nations programme of action on small arms, which was not legally binding.

As a result, some experts had described the UN programme as a programme of inaction, he said.

"The biggest concern is the movement of weapons between states … what needs to be done?" Mr Capie said.

He called for better co-ordination between states in addressing the problem of arms movement, the need for law reform, security sector reforms for more controls in the police and military, and reforms in gun licensing.

Mr Rambi said Mr Capie's visit and talk were timely to re-ignite the issue.

ID: N181

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