WAANSA Pushes For Arms Trade Treaty

Baffour Dokyi Amoah addressing the conference with some of his executives

Representatives of the West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) – an organization which aims at controlling unlawful use of small arms and light weapons – are intensifying efforts for government to rectify the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

According to WAANSA-Ghana, there are increased incidents of gun-based violence hence the need to approve the treaty which seeks to regulate international trade in small arms.

The treaty, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 2 nd April, 2013, aims to foster peace and security by preventing uncontrolled destabilizing arms flow to conflict regions.

It has been signed by 118 states and rectified by 41 states and seeks to prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms.

Baffour Dokyi Amoah, WAANSA President, at a press briefing in Accra, said the organization was engaging the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, Parliament, and the National Commission on Small Arms to ensure that the treaty is adopted as part of Ghana laws.

He said acceptance of the treaty is essential, considering that developing countries cannot afford to erode their progress on account of unlawful shipping of weapons which could trigger conflicts.

Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, he said, are some African countries that have rectify the treaty while 9 more states are left to sign so the treaty could be enforced.

He said weapons which could destabilize the peace of a country must not be sold, therefore the ATT would ensure that countries that have the capacity to produce weapons would not sell their weapons without following agreements stipulated.

Mr. Dokyi Amoah added that the organization would be responsible to monitor compliance of the agreement since stakeholder consultation had proven that government was prepared to adopt the treaty.

‘Ghana has always been a star in international arena; and we believe that adding Ghana’s name to the list of countries that sign the ATT will go a long way to enhance our image,’ he said.

As part of the initiative to control unlawful use of small arms in the country, WAANSA-Ghana, with support from regional and international bodies, would dialogue and receive information from importers of arms and local manufacturers.

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BY Ernest Nutsugah

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