The African Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba (named after South Africa’s main Nuclear Research Centre, run by The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and was the location where South Africa’s atomic bombs of the 1970s were developed, constructed and subsequently stored),establishes a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Africa. The treaty was signed in 1996 and came into effect with the 28th ratification on 15 July 2009.

Small arms and light weapons (SALW) are the main tools used in today’s conflicts, be they inter-state wars, civil wars or the actions of organised crime, and the cause of the majority of deaths from armed violence in the world – of combatants, but also, and mainly, of civilians. As past efforts have mostly been dedicated to controlling nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, the scourge of illicit SALW has only relatively recently drawn international attention, together with the increasing awareness that SALW are ‘the real weapons of mass destruction’.