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Fromayan wants small arms control act legislated

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Fromayan NDThe Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms or LINCSA, James Fromayan, has called for a speedy enactment of the “Small Arms Control Act” currently before the 53rd Liberian Legislature.

He said when passed into law, the Commission would have the legal clout and become more effective in carrying out its mandate of monitoring the movement and control of small arms across Liberia. Mr. Fromayan, who formerly served as chairman of the National Elections Commission or NEC before taking up the current post at LINCSA, made the call on State radio, ELBC 99.9 FM’s“Supper Morning Show” Tuesday.

He emphasized that it would be prudent were the Legislature to enact the bill before its annual break to enable the commission effectively execute its mandate. He disclosed that the commission has plans to establish four regional offices in the country to beef up efforts by the Liberia National Police and other state security apparatus in monitoring and controlling movement of small arms and light weapons within Liberia after UNMIL departs the country.

The LINCSA boss, however, stressed the need for sufficient budgetary support to the commission as the current allotment of US$450,000 in the 2015/2016 Fiscal Budget is inadequate to fund its operations.  On April 2nd this year, the United Nations Security Council resolved to resume the phased withdrawal of UNMIL.

The decision highlights the Council’s confidence in Liberia both to continue the remarkable job it has done in rolling back Ebola, and to build on the progress made since the deployment of the peacekeeping mission at the end of the civil war in 2003.

In March, the Government of Liberia approved a detailed security transition plan that will enable the country to assume full responsibility for all facets of its security by 30 June 2016, the deadline set by the Security Council.
Prepared in close consultation with UNMIL and other stakeholders, the plan sets clear benchmarks for Liberian authorities to take over all security responsibilities still performed by UNMIL such as providing a presidential guard and safely disposing of unexploded ordnance from the war.

The plan is closely linked with UNMIL’s own drawdown, but it is less about replacing the UN presence and more about addressing the challenges of maintaining security, peace and access to justice in post-war Liberia.

For the security transition plan to succeed, the Government must consistently prioritize security sector and rule-of-law reforms throughout the 14 months remaining until the handover deadline.  President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is fully committed to the transition, and made sure that justice and security issues were included in the nation’s post-Ebola recovery plan.

The security challenges triggered by the epidemic in July and August last year were indeed immense, ranging from responding to social unrest and enforcing curfews and checkpoints, to cases of Ebola among Liberia’s uniformed ranks and the risk that Ebola would enter its overcrowded prisons.

By Ben P. Wesee – Editing by Jonathan Browne

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