He noted that Liberia aligns itself with the statements delivered by the distinguished Representatives of Nigeria and Indonesia on behalf of the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement respectively.
According to him,Liberia is not a known producer of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) but a victim of its proliferation. This can be largely traced to the decade and half long civil war in the country and the Mano River Union Basin. Knowing firsthand the devastating humanitarian and socio-economic consequences associated with the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of SALW, Liberia attaches great importance to the central role of the UN PoA and ITI as crucial multilateral instruments to tackle the illicit flow of SALW and their multifaceted effects.
Due to the importance and sensitivity of the issue,Liberia in 2012 established the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA). The Commission oversees the implementation of the POA nationally and embarked on strengthening the Country’s legal framework–its national laws, regulations and administrative procedures. Notably, he added that Liberia has ratified the ECOWAS Convention on SALW, Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and UN Program of Action (PoA), enacted the Fire Arms and Ammunitions Control Act (FACA) of 2015 and developed several binding instruments including Administrative Regulations, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Memoranda of Understanding between LiNCSA and National Security Agencies. The commission he indicated also recently drafted two bills: one for the full domestication of the ATT and the other to increase the scope of the mandate of LiNCSA for the domestication of the ATT and all other conventions and protocols,all of which are expected to be submitted to the President for subsequent passage into Law.
The Linsca boss addressing his colleagues said With the backing of a strengthened legal framework and support of the government, Liberia took advantage of an opportunity provided by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament and Research (UNIDIR) to conduct the first Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) study in the country since the end of the civil crisis in 2003. Recommendations in the form of options were presented to the government for appropriate action in order to improve and strengthen the country’s stockpile management system,noting that Liberia is grateful to UNIDIR for the support.
“Our effort he added saw Liberia successfully marking and recorded as well all state-owned firearms from 2016 to 2018”,he told the gathering.
The process is also ongoing to develop administrative regulations for the marking, recording and licensing of locally made shotguns for hunting purposes, as well as regular inspection of armories.
Liberia continues to work closely with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional and international groups in the area of Small Arms and Light Weapons control.
He praised the EU/ECOWAS for their noteworthy collaboration to the arms for development project. Under this project, Liberia constructed and handed over a town hall to the people of B’hai in one of our Southeastern Counties.
Recognizing that gender mainstreaming strengthens quality and sustainability of small arms control, and the importance of General Assembly Resolution 1325, Liberia has established a gender section within the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms. We are mobilizing resources to make it more functional.
Liberia he stressed has made some progress but was quick to point out that huge challenges still lie ahead.
In addition to the resource constraints faced by Liberia and other developing nations, there’s the emerging challenge of illegal local manufacturing of pistol-like guns. The technology for the manufacturing of pistol like guns has spread across our region and it is the newest weapon used by gangs and criminals and has become a known source of threat in the region. The porosity of our borders and inefficient immigration services exacerbate the situation,this is a cause for concern, he noted.
Liberia James noted believes that while it is true that powerful nations have to adopt clear and realistic approaches to dealing with this common agenda; there is an urgent need to spotlight developing nations in a significant way.. This does not in any way negate the support of donor countries to developing countries, but it serves as a call for increase in support and strengthened collaboration.
There have to be practical actions taken in terms of mutually established synergies drawn from the UN-POA, ATT, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Vision 2020. Liberia believes that this action coupled with genuine commitment from all countries is fundamentally important moving forward.