The European Union in the World The European Union's Assistance on Curbing Small Arms
and Light Weapons (EU ASAC) in the Kingdom of Cambodia
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In 1999, at the request of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Council of Ministers of the European Union decided to assist Cambodia in curbing the devastating effects of widespread availability of small arms and light weapons throughout the country. To tackle the problems, EU ASAC initiated a comprehensive plan with different components that together are having a noticeable impact on the Cambodian weapons security situation.

Working with an experienced staff, the programme began operations in April 2000 and the initial assistance covered five areas:

  • Assisting the Royal Government in drafting a law on use, possession, trade and transport of weapons.
  • Safeguarding and registration of weapons in the hands of the military.
  • Public awareness on the destabilising effects of possession and use of weapons and the link between weapons security and development.
  • Voluntary collection of weapons possessed by the civilian population through a process of exchange for community-owned development projects.
  • Destruction of the army surplus of weapons and of the weapons collected from the civilian population.

In 2002, an additional pilot project was implemented:

  • Registration and safe storage of police service weapons (in three provinces only).

In 2003 one more activity was added:

  • Collection and destruction of weapons left over from the civil war and which were hidden in weapons caches in the mountains and the forests.

The success of the programme has been largely due to the commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia to create a weapons-free society. This has led to good co-operation between EU ASAC and the Royal Government.

With this programme, the European Union has been able to maintain its vanguard role in the field of curbing SALW.

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