LiNCSA Holds One Day Stakeholders’ Technical Review hybrid On-site and virtual session to Review Proposed Amendments to the Commission’s Law and the Firearms and Ammunition Control Act

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Monrovia, Wednesday March 17, 2021: The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA), in collaboration with Expertise France has concluded a one day technical on-site and virtual technical session to review proposed amendments to draft bills to domesticate the Arms Trade and Transfer Treaty (ATT) and the Act establishing the Small Arms Commission in Liberia.

Speaking during the hybrid on-site and virtual technical review session supported by the European Union (EU), Liberia’s Small Arms Boss Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby II, thanked Expertise France for the partnership and collaboration and the European Union for the support towards the Commission’s efforts to domesticate the Arms Trade & Transfer Treaty (ATT) in Liberia.

Chairman Grigsby emphasized Liberia’s committed to the ECOWAS Convention aimed at addressing the problem of illicit proliferation and trade within the region and mitigating measures to ensure prevention and regulation of illicit small arms and light weapons within and across the borders of Liberia.

The Small Arms Boss stressed that the domestication of the ATT is very vital to ensuring that Liberia meet its obligation as a State Party to the Treaty and transfer control of conventional arms including small arms and light weapons.

The Chairman noted that the two draft bills, Proposed Amendment to the Firearms and Ammunition Control Act and Proposed Amendment to the Act establishing the Small Arms Commission have been thoroughly reviewed by national experts, independent international consultants hired by Expertise France with support from the European Union and senior level members of the ECOWAS Commission Small Arms Division, Directorate on Peace and Regional Security.

Chairman Grigsby noted that Liberia is on the path of leading the West African effort to domesticate the ATT and collaborate with ECOWAS to share knowledge experience with other Member States.

Chairman Grigsby concluded that he is of the conviction that National Legislature will ensure the speedy passage of proposed amended bills (Small Arms Commission’s Act and FACA).

Meanwhile, Dr. Ahdamu Sani of the ECOWAS Commission Small Arms Division, Abuja, Nigeria moderated the first review session of the proposed bill to amend the Act establishing the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA). Dr. Sani highlighted the importance of Liberia’s quest to review its law and the appropriate actions taken through legal and administrative frameworks to widen its scope and mandate to cover all weapons including conventional arms. He further lauded Liberia and other ECOWAS Member States for ensuring that laws on Small Arms and Light Weapons were reviewed regularly stressing the need for minimum standards. He then acknowledged Expertise France for the Technical and logistical support provided to the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms for the conduct of the hybrid on-site and virtual review session.

The second session was moderated by Mr. Mohamed Coulibaly representing the Authorities of Expertise France. Mr. Coulibaly introduced the two independent international consultants and presented the platform for the consultants to highlight technical advisory support to the proposed laws. The consultants’ highlighted the significance of the technical review to find solutions and identify gaps in the draft law emphasizing, issues bordering on the comprehensive nature of the draft laws, prioritizing control list and transfer control measures, scope of the Commission’s mandate and licensing regime among others.

The Authorities of Expertise France, in opening remarks, commanded the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms for the landmark effort to draft proposed laws aimed at domesticating the provision of the United Nations Arm Trade and Transfer Treaty  and express wiliness to provide technical, logistical and financial support to the Commission with support from the European Union (EU).

The Director of Program of the Small Arms Commission Madam Vivian Dogbey intimated that the government of Liberia commitment to domesticate the Arms Trade Treaty is informed by its recent history of more than 14 years of armed violence where arms used in this violent crises which eventually engulfed the Mano River basin countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and later the Cote d’Ivoire were not produced in Liberia or either of these countries.  Yet, they were easily available even to children as young as 8 years old.

Presenting basic overview to participants attending the technical review session, Madam Dogbey said, Liberians can not over emphasize the threat the unregulated trade that conventional arms posed to peace and security since the prolongation of the Liberian civil war was fueled by this illicit trade.

According to her, Liberia like many other nations in the region, experienced first-hand impact of the unregulated trade in conventional arms.

With this constant threat to its peace and security, the Director of Program said, Liberia joined other nations around the world to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty and became one of the few countries worldwide to conduct a nationwide assessment on compliance and domestication of the ATT.

Madam Dogbey revealed that an assessment was conducted and followed by an initial support from the ATT Secretariat to promote the drafting of laws to domesticate the Treaty.

The one-day onsite technical review session which aims to promote the domestication of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) brought together National Security Actors, Civil Society Organizations in Liberia and Members of the Diplomatic Corps.

The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) was recently included as an Ad-Hoc Partner Country on the EU Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Export for the implementation of the ATT.

The Chair of the EU Council Working Party on Conventional Arms Export (COARM), Eran Nagan expressed great pleasure with Liberia as ad hoc partner on the implementation of the ATT.

The inclusion of Liberia as partner was addressed through a written communication to the Chairman of LiNCSA, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby II, after prior engagement with Expertise France.

This effort of Liberia’s inclusion as implementing partner serves as a major boost as the Commission under the leadership of Chairman Grigsby, in collaboration with Expertise France with funding from the European Union (EU) is playing a leading role in the revision of the Liberia Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015, its Administrative Regulations to reflect provisions of the United Nations Arms Trade & Transfer Treaty aimed at addressing issues of manufacture, trade, transfer, transit, transshipment, possession and use of conventional arms including small arms and light weapons.

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