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Sierra Leone Launched the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) National Assessment Report

Posted 12/3/2018

Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Lahai Laurence Leema, displaying the report flanked by Commissioner Allieu and Roy Isibister from SaferworldDeputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Lahai Laurence Leema, displaying the report flanked by Commissioner Allieu and Roy Isibister from SaferworldThe Sierra Leone Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) National Assessment Report has been launched at the Freetown Gulf Club on the 21st December 2018, by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Lahai Laurence Leema. The ceremony was organized by the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms (SLeNCSA), in partnership with Saferworld. The aim of the assessment was to identify the gaps within our relevant legislations, which when filled will ensure Sierra Leone’s ATT implementation compliance.

The ATT is the first global and legally binding instrument to regulate the transfer of conventional arms.  It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on the 2nd April 2013 and entered into force on the 24th December 2014. Sierra Leone participated in all the negotiations leading to the adoption of the ATT by the UN General Assembly. On the 25th September 2013, Sierra Leone signed the ATT and ratified it on the 12th August 2014. 

Notwithstanding the active role she played during the negotiation stages and her prompt action in signing and ratifying the treaty, thereby becoming one of the founding member states, Sierra Leone cannot fully comply with the ATT due to limitations in her relevant national laws and regulations. SLeNCSA, therefore, in partnership with Saferworld, a UK-based international non-governmental organization working with governments and Civil Society Organizations to prevent armed violence and promote human security, accessed funds from the Voluntary Trust Fund of the ATT to assess Sierra Leone’s legislations to ensure compliance with the ATT.

The report recommends that the scope of the SLeNCSA Act of 2010 and the Arms and Ammunition Act (AAA) of 2012 be amended to cover all conventional arms.  This means that SLeNCSA would then be renamed ‘Sierra Leone National Commission on Arms (SLeNCA)’.

Launching the report, the Hon. Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs lauded the efforts of SLeNCSA in laying the foundation for Sierra Leone’s compliance with the ATT, and in leading the fight against the proliferation and illicit circulation of small arms and ammunition within the boards of Sierra Leone. He opined that the Commission’s strides indicated that when once the process of incorporating the ATT into the relevant national legislations is complete, it would be in top gear to implement its provisions in line with the country’s national security strategy.  He assured the gathering that after the launching of the report, his Ministry will lead the process of amending the relevant legislations by Parliament, through Cabinet. ‘I assure you that this process will be given the urgent attention it deserves.’

Welcoming guests, SLeNCSA Commissioner, Brig-Gen (Rtd) Tamba R. Allieu (OOR), gave the historical background and significance of the ATT, and how Sierra Leone is committed to it. He added that if the SLeNCSA and Arms and Ammunition Acts are amended, Sierra Leone will be legally positioned to fully implement the ATT, thereby having full authority to prosecute violators of the provisions of the treaty.

Three power point presentations were made on relevant topics. Ms Adenike Cole of the Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms spoke on the Wars in West Africa and the Genesis of the ATT; Mr. Roy Isbister from Saferworld spoke on the Rationale, History and Content of the ATT; and Mr. Martin Drew, an Arms Trade Trainer, dilated on Assessing Sierra Leone’s ATT Implementation Compliance -The Project and Assessment Report.

Finally, the Deputy Commissioner of SLeNCSA, Col (Rtd,) Saa Anthony Sinah, spoke on the steps leading to full compliance with the ATT.