Speaker of Parliament, Justice Edmund Cowan, has assured on behalf of all parliamentarians that they will endorse the ratification of the ECOWAS Moratorium when it goes before them.
He made this commitment during the West Africa Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA) training workshop on lobbying and campaigning.
The Speaker said the relationship between peace, security and development had been highlighted in the Millennium Declaration of 2000, and that “there is a direct link between armed violence and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as incidence of armed violence impact negatively on the pursuance and achievement of the MDGs”.
He noted that, “the problem of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) is of grave international concern and a key priority of enhancing human security and promoting sustainable development”.
Justice Edmund Cowan said, “parliament notes the efforts of the Civil Society of West Africa and Sierra Leone through SLANSA in lobbying their governments through ECOWAS to transform the ECOWAS Moratorium into legally binding convention”.
He said on the issue of transfer controls “we support the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which is broad based and inclusive of sub-regional, regional and international process.”
Justice Cowan announced that, “the Sierra Leone parliament is a member of the parliamentarians working together in preventing arms proliferation and armed violence,” noting that this network of global parliamentarians provided space to meet and join forces with civil society.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Momodu Koroma, praised SLANSA for their devotion to eradicate small arms.
The minister stated that, “only true patriots go to these extra lengths to make sure their nations and peoples are protected from the scourges and results of the danger of small arms proliferation”.
Mr Lawrence Bassie, the Chairman for National Bureau for the control of small Arms and Light Weapons in Sierra Leone, said “the country believes in ensuring that the Arms Trade Treaty becomes a binding instrument on state parties in Sierra Leone’s overall quest to control the proliferation of Small Arms and Light weapons”.
He said they would not relent as a government in advocating for the arms trade treaty.