Africa Amnesty Month
Africa Amnesty Month (AAM) is part of continental efforts toward the goal of creating a conflict-free, integrated and prosperous Africa, as envisioned in Agenda 2063, by encouraging the citizenry to voluntarily surrender their illicit weapons and ammunition without prosecution.
It offers an opportunity to increase the number of registered weapons in order to protect people from gun violence. Since 2020 when RECSA supported the coordination of the AU-UNODA efforts, some successes have been recorded notably; implementation was in seven countries—Burkina Faso, Cameroon, CAR, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and Kenya. A total of 1,602 weapons were destroyed and in Ethiopia, civilians were encouraged to surrender their weapons for registration. In 2021 countries that were supported were; Uganda, Madagascar and Niger with a total of 4,342 weapons and 1,668 ammunition destroyed.
Additionally, various countries have improved their gun control laws as a result of the AAM resulting in; better licensing, registration, tracking, and monitoring systems for gun ownership. Many other countries – including those that recently experienced conflict, those that are presently experiencing conflict, and even those that currently enjoy a state of relative calm – are making an effort to adopt these initiatives.
The participation of heads of state and senior government officials actively in the commemorations demonstrates a strong commitment to the cause. The continued commemoration of AAM by member states, regional economic communities and regional mechanisms and partners builds trust among state security institutions as weapons custodians and citizens. It also enables the development of programs and policy frameworks that facilitate the surrender of weapons to the relevant government authorities in the month of September without fear of prosecution.