A human security and disarmament oriented organization known as Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA) has held a two-day consultation on the draft Arms and Ammunition Bill 2010 on 27 & 28 September at the Kono District Council Hall. The consultation brought together local authorities including chiefs, youth & women’s leaders in six chiefdoms –Tankoro, Gbense, Nimiyama, Nimikoro, kamayama and Fiama all in the Kono District.
In his statement SLANSA Programme Officer, AbuBakarr Sheriff noted that the consultation was part of activities implemented in respect of a project titled: Strengthening Stakeholders’ Interaction in Local Governance for Peace and Social Security in Kono.’ The project he said is funded by a Danish Ngo, IBIS-Sierra Leone and has an overarching, the raising awareness and building the capacity and confidence of traditional rulers &youths to influence compliance to democratic principles, human rights and security. To this end, he furthered that the project has as its objective to generate knowledge on, and respect for existing regulations on human rights, good governance and human security; and to stimulate a culture of constructive dialogue and enhance the authority of traditional leaders, as duty bearers, for peaceful co-existence within their communities.
In his address during the opening ceremony, the governance Programme Manager of IBIS-Sierra Leone, Alpha Sesay revealed that support to SLANSA was within the framework of the citizens’ rights in governance project which the organization implemented in tandem with other local NGOs in Kono District. This, he revealed, hoped to enhance and deepen the collaboration of both local authorities and citizens in governance. He emphasized that rights should correspond with responsibility for duty bearers and right holders respectively. He also pledged his organization’s support to issues of rights, security and gender in not only Kono District but Sierra Leone as a whole.
Meanwhile, the consultation dealt with the draft Arms and Ammunition Bill of 2010, whilst participants also benefited from presentations on the Devolution of Estates Act 2007 and the Domestic Violence Act 2007.
The participants came up with recommendations on the draft Arms and Ammunition Act 2010 which among others stated the need for such an important bill to be in the public domain before it was tabled in parliament like for the Registrar of gun license to be the Commissioner of the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms; the need for a comprehensive and representative Advisory Board on Gun Licenses procedures; and the criteria for civilian possession of guns to be wide ranging, all encompassing gender considerations.
Paramount Chief of Fiama, P.C. Sahr Y.K. Mbriwa II thanked IBIS and SLANSA for bringing the draft bill to Kono and urged the replication of such in other parts of the country.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.