Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms

Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence

Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence

Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence comes up from June 5th to 12th .It is a time members and friends of International Action Network on Small Arms campaign against the proliferation of small arms and Light Weapons .

Sierra Leone being a post war country has suffered immensely from the use of small arms .Even though the war has been long declared over, the physical scars still remain with us.

At the moment we face situations of violence Amongst young people and we use this time to say NO to the use of guns.

SLANSA recognizes the efforts made by the Sierra Leone Small Arms Commission in ensuring that all arms must be registered, and as such we now encourage blacksmiths alternatives to producing illicit firearms as well as sensitize those who wish to continue to produce firearms to register them with SLENSA.

The United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms and Regulations provided SLANSA with funds to engage Blacksmiths for a period of two years. The initial stage of the project is a survey, which report is being shared today. The research has made us follow up on blacksmiths to identify blacksmiths and determine what are their products; as well as encourage those who wish to produce guns to work closely with SLENSA and also where possible provide linkages for the trade of the goods produce more so for agricultural implements.

The survey was conducted in the following districts, Kailahun, Kono, Kenema, Bo,Bombali,Moyamba and Western Area Urban and Rural. Blacksmiths targeted included some blacksmiths who were previously trained as well as identifying others who are relatively new in the trade.

The objectives of the study include:

  • Identifying gunsmiths who do not want to stop producing fire arms as well as encourage them to register with the Small Arms Commission.
  • Furthermore, to ascertain whether the blacksmiths have markets ,workshops ,materials and adequate modern tools to do their work effectively.

Key findings of the research though not limited but includes

  • Gender disparity in targeted blacksmiths .(Majority of blacksmiths are men)
  • Majority of blacksmiths targeted are very active in the trade.
  • Blacksmiths produce guns mostly for commercial purposes as well as for security reasons
  • Willingness for blacksmiths to stop producing guns, should they have alternative livelihood skills.
  • Over 50 percent complained of not having market for their goods produced .This could be a threat if the production of arms seem to be more lucrative. This might lead to its proliferation which will be a threat to peace in our beloved country.

The recommendations proffered include

  1. Provision of improved tools to manufacture, materials and trainings as the current tools used are modern but manually operated.
  2. Provide training opportunities for alternative livelihood skills .
  3. Establish a stronger link between the Guns Smiths and the National Commission of Small Arms, particularly on the aspect of follow ups.
  4. Putting a ban on the sale of scrap metals which are required for blacksmiths to produce.
  5. Formation of a National Blacksmiths organization that will seek the welfare of those practicing the trade.

SLANSA therefore uses this time to add her voice to that of Ms Izumi Nakamitsu’s,High Representative for Disarmament Affairs of the United Nations ; to say NO to the use of gun violence in a bid to ensure our communities achieve the well deserved sustainable peace and development.

The Global Week of Action against gun violence is an opportunity to remind the world about the stark reality. However it is also an opportunity to remember how much can be achieved through collective action,

I therefore present to you all Baseline Survey Report on Encouraging Blacksmiths to seek training in Alternative Livelihood skills to illicit weapons.

Adenike Cole
Coordinator – SLANSA
7th June,2017

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