Liberia May Rectify Arms Treaty Trade ‘Shortly’

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The president of the West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA), Mr. Baffour Amoa, has disclosed that Liberia will “very shortly rectify” the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which has been signed by at least 130 nations, including Liberia.

The ATT, which was signed on April 2, 2013 by those 130 nations, has only been rectified by 66 nations. Of that that number, 10 African nations have rectified it. Among the 10, seven are in the West Africa region.

The WAANSA president, who met with journalists and civil society advocates over the weekend, said his two-man delegation had discussions with senior level Liberian government officials and was able to push for Liberia’s rectification of the treaty to which it was already a signatory.

Mr. Amoa disclosed that a senior security advisor in the government had assured him that the document would be rectified anytime this week. Among those his delegation conferred with are the President, Senate officials, National Security Advisors and Defense Ministry officials.  

On reasons why the rectification of the document had been delayed from the Liberian government side, Mr. Amoa told the Daily Observer that officials he spoke with had cited “administrative matters” as the cause of the delay.

Asked how Liberia stands to benefit when the ATT is rectified by the Legislature, the WAANSA president said, “Liberia and the rest of West Africa hope to achieve less proliferation of arms in this region.” He also stated that every arm and ammunition entering into Liberia will be marked and accounted for, beginning with the manufacturers and end-users.

The Treaty, Mr. Amoa explained, requires all member states to present a list of weapons that would be regulated under the treaty. “The treaty also stipulates that states register and recognize all arms brokers within their borders,” he said warning that sanctions would be imposed on any member nation which goes against the treaty.

The other ATT delegate, Mr. Amandou Musa Maigon, president, West Africa Journalists’ Network for Security, Peace and Development, stated that most times it is the ordinary people who suffer the most as a result of arms conflict.

Mr. Maigon, who is the vice president for WAANSA, urged civil society representatives at the meeting to lobby with state actors to rectify the Treaty.

The objectives of the Treaty are to establish the highest possible common international standards for regulating or improving the regulation of the international trade in conventional arms; prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion.

Its goals are also to contribute to international and regional peace, security and stability; reduce human suffering; and promote cooperation, transparency and responsible action by State Parties in the international trade in conventional arms, thereby building confidence among State Parties.

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