Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library

Small Arms Survey. 2002 ‘Changing Attitudes: Weapons Collection and Destruction.’ Small Arms Survey 2002: Counting the Human Cost, p. 296. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1 July

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Cambodia: Steps forward, steps back

Yet there are serious problems that limit the effectiveness of the programme. First, only a portion of the collected weapons have been destroyed, while remaining weapons are stored in poorly secured and unsafe state depots. Diversion and re-circulation of stored weapons continue to supply a local black market for weapons in Phnom Penh, according to Deputy Prime Minister HE Sar Kheng. Second, current weapons legislation is inadequate and poorly implemented. Finally, the government collection programme has focused more on civilian weapons than the undisciplined use of weapons by Cambodian security forces - police, gendarmerie, and army - a root cause of insecurity and the desire of civilians to remain armed.

In response to these problems, the Government of Cambodia has taken several encouraging steps. In co-operation with the European Union Assistance on Curbing Small Arms and Light Weapons in Cambodia (EU-ASAC) created in 1999, it has initiated a weapons storage and registration pilot project and a weapons-for-development pilot project, and drafted a more comprehensive arms law that is currently being reviewed. A National Commission for Weapons Reform and Management was also created in July 2000. The Commission has a policy outlining clear objectives for arms reduction and management, although it has yet to become active and lacks a concrete action plan.

Most people, while broadly supportive of the weapons collection process, remain reluctant to participate in it themselves so long as the rule of law is not fully established in the country and there is a lack of public trust in the security forces. In other words, so long as the state - and its claim to the monopoly of the instruments of violence - does not address root issues and provide security for all people and communities regardless of political affiliation, status, and wealth, Cambodians are likely to continue to arm themselves.

Source: WGWR (2001)

Source cited:

Yem, Sam Oeun, and Rebecca F. Catalla. 2001. 'I Live in Fear: Consequences of Small Arms and Light Weapons on Women and Children in Cambodia.' Research series on SALW issues in Cambodia, No. 2. Phnom Penh: Working Group for Weapons Reduction in Cambodia (WGWR). June.

ID: Q838

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