In their effort to curtail the use of small arms and the violence caused by these short guns on women, the Freetown women’s group of Amnesty International Sierra Leone on Tuesday launched a week long programme on the global action against gun violence.
In her statement during the programme held at the Gender and Grass root Empowerment Movement, the national Chairman of Amnesty Violette Kawa said that every year about 35,000 people die through gun violence.
This year’s focus she went on is on the Members of Parliament (MP) as they are elected representatives of the people. These MP’s are also in powerful positions to influence public policies she said.
The epidemic of gun violence the national coordinator said cannot be treated by one country alone and with the arms treaty; this will prevent transporting small arms and gives Sierra Leone a real opportunity to influence global human security.
She urged that government should try to push a little from state security to a broader vision of human security.
In launching the week long programme on behalf of the Human Rights Commissioner, Ibrahim Bangura said that gun violence varies greatly across the world with South Africa recording the highest in Africa while USA is regarded as the highest in the developed world.
He said that, government has a significant role in arms violence, and public concern in the country encourages government to do all they can to reduce fire arms in the country.
He committed the Human Right Commission saying they would identify with the struggle to make the world a safer place free from fire and small arms.
In his statement Francis Boma of the Sierra Leone Action Against Small Arms (SLANSA) said that in one year a total of 7,000 weapons were collected in various sections in the country and this was done after persuading these people seriously.
The dangers of small arms he said was that these weapons inflicted untold suffering on the people and that women and girls suffer a lot from fire arms.
The use of fire arms causes displacement, starvation and disease on women he said.
Giving his opening remarks the chairman of the programme Moriba Ben Swarray said that women become the main bread winners and primary carers when male relatives are killed, injured or disabled in gun violence.
A large number of women and girls he stressed suffer directly and indirectly from violence and they [women] are particularly at risk of certain crimes because of their gender.