Draft Fire Arms Control Doc to be Finalized

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A two-day workshop under the auspices Liberia National Commission on Small Arms in Collaboration with the Action on Arms Violence on the Draft Fire Arms Control Act has ended in Monrovia with a call to work towards finalizing the document.

Deputy Justice Minister for Codification Cllr. Victoria Sherman Lang, thanked the Commission for the initiative and expressed optimism that the two day exercise yielded the desired results.

She also pledged to work in partnership with the Commission in executing its duties.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Commission on Small Arms James Fromayan expressed satisfaction over the level of participation.

He said the rapid drawdown of UNMIL should serve as wake up call for Liberians to take their security concerns seriously.

Mr. Fromayan then thanked Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) for the assistance given which helped make the workshop a reality.

Topics discussed included inter alia, which weapons the commission ought to register; who to possess fire arms; whether or not foreigners should import or export arms; overlapping functions of the commission and the Liberia National Police.

The discussions focused on a report emanating from an expert review of the proposed draft Act by Ms. Parker and will eventually lead to the finalization of the proposed draft Act for onward submission to the 53rd National Legislature for enactment during its current sitting. The passage of the Firearms Control Act will demonstrate Liberia’s commitment to honoring its legal obligation under the ECOWAS Convention on small Arms and Light weapons, their ammunition and other related materials.

The workshop which took place in the Mildred Page Hall at the S. Trowen Nagbe United Methodist Church from February 12-13, 2014, brought together 25 stakeholders from several relevant local and international institutions including the Office of the Legal Counsel of the President of Liberia, the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Defense, state security institutions as well as other development partners.

They include UNPOL, UNDP, ICRC and civil society organizations.

Miss Sarah Parker, external consultant and international legal expert from Geneva on fire arms legislation and Varney Bornor, associate of Gongloe law firm served as facilitators.

The commission has statutory responsibility to formulate and implement policies that curtail the proliferation, illicit manufacturing, trafficking and distribution of small arms and light weapons.

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