The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA), has concluded a three-day Stakeholders’ Consultation aimed at reviewing and amending the Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015 (FACA), its Regulations and the Act establishing the Small Arms.
The stakeholder’s consultation meeting which started from November 2 -4, 2020 in Monrovia City brought together heads and senior officials of Defense and Para-military Institutions, Diplomatic Missions, other relevant agencies of the government, including the Office of Liberia Peace Ambassador, International Organizations (ECOWAS, UNDP, MRU among others), Civil Society Organizations as well as Religious Community.
The three-day consultation with stakeholders was aimed at soliciting participants’ views and inputs leading to the revision of the Liberia Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015, its Administrative Regulations to reflect provisions of the UN Arms Trade Treaty including manufacture, trade, transfer, transit, transhipment, possession and use of conventional arms.
The initiative also aims to review the Act creating LiNCSA to expand its scope beyond small arms to all conventional arms.
Speaking during the event, the Chairman of the Commission, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, extended profound gratitude to President George Manneh Weah, for the confidence reposed in him to chair Liberia’s Program of Action on Arms Control within and across the borders of the Republic.
Chairman Grigsby indicated that as the Commission in collaboration with the UNDP commenced the three days stakeholders’ consultation to review and amend the Small Arms Commission Act and the Firearms and Ammunition Control Act and its regulations, it is important to put in place the needed stringent measures to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in Small Arms, their ammunition, light weapons and other related materials; adding that considering highly that they were misused before and during the over 14-years of devastating armed conflict that erupted in 1989 which made Liberia the epicentre of the death and destruction that engulfed West African sub-region, especially neighbouring countries.
Mr. James P. Monibah cautioned authorities of the Small Arms Commission to engage in robust community awareness to get citizens abreast with the existing realities. The Team Leader on Inclusive Governance Pillar reaffirmed UNDP commitment to assist the Commission to curb the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons in Liberia
Mr. Monibah who spoke on behalf of the Resident Representative of UNDP, (Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai), however, lauded the German Government, ECOWAS and European Union for sponsoring projects leading to peace and stability in Liberia and the sub-region.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Justice, Frank Musah Dean, the Assistant Minister of Codification Atty. Abraham Mitchell described the review of the Firearms law and its regulations as best practice.
He asserted that the revision of the firearms law is expedient giving the current living condition in the sub-region, which he said is hugely characterized by state fragility, where organized crimes, including drugs, human trafficking and small arms proliferation and illicit trade are widespread.
Minister Mitchell pointed out that the revision of the firearms law intended must be to deal with contemporary issues and realities, stressing that Liberia, being a state party, must be on par with regional and international standards.
Reviewing these laws, according to Atty. Mitchell, the Small Arms Commission must consider working with the Ministry of Justice; especially it’s Codification Department and the Law Review Commission of Liberia for the purpose of synergizing law.
Minister Mitchell said that the establishment of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms was very imperative in addressing policy gaps, and to play a vital role to respond, effectively to the alarming rate of small arms and light weapons in Liberia and the African region.
According to Minister Mitchell, the National Security Strategy of the Republic of Liberia (NSSRL) recognizes illegally held arms, especially small arms and light weapons and ammunition as a dangerous threat to Liberia’s National Security.
The Minister of Justice proxy seriously noted that the President’s proclamation of mandatory registration of single barrel hunting guns is a smart idea that is welcomed by the Ministry of Justice. He also pledged the Ministry’s preparedness to work with the Small Arms Commission to fulfil the task of Civilian Arms Registration for hunters.
He encouraged authorities of LiNCSA to closely work with the Ministry of Internal Affairs in executing the registration of hunting guns; something he believed is cardinal to its success in totality.
The Minister also acknowledged ECOWAS and UNDP continues support to Liberia’s ongoing peace process, emphasizing that many years Liberia and its people have benefited from donations and capacity building programs.
ECOWAS Special Representative to Liberia, Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, said that ECOWAS remains steadfast in its role to helping Liberia maintains peace and stability.
Ambassador Ajisomo noted that there is no way to have peace in Liberia unless concerted efforts are considered to address the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Proactive initiatives such as the revision and amending the Firearm Law and the Act creating LiNCSA, Ambassador Ajisomo emphasized, are appropriate steps in domesticating the Arms Trade Treaty, which Liberia is a state party.
The ECOWAS Ambassador informed participants who attended the Stakeholders Consultation that Liberia is on the right trajectory of becoming the first country to domesticate the Arms Trade Treaty in the region. Ambassador Ajisomo reiterated ECOWAS’ commitment to supporting programs of the Small Arms Commission and the Government of Liberia.