Statement by the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LINCSA)
For nearly two decades, Liberia has been ravaged by illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the hands of non-state actors. Although a report on the actual number of deaths during the Liberia civil crisis varies, consecutive estimates put the figure at 200,000. For a country like Liberia with a low population, that number is extremely high.
As concern mounted over the alarming carnage that was perpetuated against the Liberian population by various warring parties, the sub-regional bloc ECOWAS intervened militarily in an attempt to restore peace and stability in the country. Despite ECOWAS’ laudable efforts, peace still was illusive due to the recalcitrant nature of the warring factions. With the involvement of the larger international community, a Peace Accord signed in Accra, Ghana, by all stakeholders in 2003 laid a framework for the restoration of peace in Liberia. Under the terms of the Accra Peace Accord, a transitional government was installed followed by the disarmament of all warring factions. The Accra Peace Accord was finalized with the holding of the country’s first democratic elections in October 2005. Sensing the proliferation of illicit Small Arms & Light Weapons in the sub-region contributed to the spread of violent rebellion in
West Africa, the ECOWAS Authorities in 2006 mandated its member countries to establish National Commissions on Small Arms & Light Weapons.
In adherence to the ECOWAS call, the Government of Liberia established a National Commission on Small Arms in 2006. Six years later, the Legislature passed an Act establishing the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms. On July 11, 2016, the Legislature passed into law the Firearms and
Ammunition Control Act, which was signed by the President of Liberia and printed into handbills on 5th August, 2016. The Firearms Act evolved at a time when the long standing United Nations Arms Embargo on Liberia was being lifted by the world body. It also coincided with the withdrawal of UNMIL from Liberia and the assumption of their roles by Liberian institutions. News of UNMIL’s withdrawal too often instills fear in some Liberians but so far, Liberian security personnel have been up to the task.
Introducing the Firearms Act to the Liberian people at this critical period is a must. Liberia is looking forward to crucial presidential and legislative elections in October 2017.
The peaceful, free and fair conduct of those elections is the wish of most Liberians. Providing public education on the harmfulness of illicit arms trade is the current understanding of the LiNCSA.
In its resolution 2333 (2016) adopted by the Security Council at its 7851st meeting on December 23, 2016, the Security Council urges the Government of Liberia to accelerate efforts to implement measures on the proper management of arms and ammunitions including enacting the appropriate domestic laws.
It is in consideration of all these factors that LiNCSA is creating awareness among Liberians about the New Firearms Act. The launch of the Popularization of the Firearms & Ammunition Control Act on February 3, 2017 by LiNCSA at the Auditorium of the University of Liberia was the kickoff of a public education program that will cover eight (8) counties.
In that regard, LiNCSA wishes to express profound gratitude to the Government of the United Kingdom through its embassy accredited near Monrovia for providing the funds being used to popularize the Firearms Act.
The Commission will roll out a series of newspaper articles on the Firearms Control Act (FACA) that will appear beginning this week. The articles will provide basic education on the Firearms Act.
Welcome to the Firearms and Ammunition Control Act.