The Chairman of the Liberia Action Network on Small Arms (LANSA) Michael S. Yorwah wants Government of Liberia’s support against use of explosive weapons among civilians.
He says the call comes as African States rally to stop use of explosive weapons that pose threats to civilians and undermine development plans. Addressing a press conference in Monrovia, Mr. Yorwah recalls that representatives of 19 African countries, including Liberia, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, International Committee of the Red Cross, International Network on Explosive Weapons and other civil society organizations met in Maputo, Mozambique from 27-28 November 2017, shared knowledge and evidence on the distinctive pattern of harm caused to civilians by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and to explore steps to address this harm at a political and operational level.
He says representatives expressed concern that explosive weapons used in populated areas lead to deaths, injuries and traumas as well as destruction of infrastructure and critical services, while creating forced displacement.
He continues that in their exchanges, representatives realized that the involvement of African States and civil society could play a pivotal role in enhancing the protection of civilians from harm caused by explosive weapons in a time when armed conflicts are increasingly fought in populated centers.
LANSA wants government to join the campaign to address this issue at national, regional and international levels, through encouragement of collection of data and information to increase awareness and enhance knowledge about the impact of explosive weapons on civilians’ lives.
He urges government to fully support the process that would lead to negotiation and adoption of an international political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
Meanwhile, LANSA commends ECOWAS and the EU through the Government of Liberia for the ongoing community arms collection for development project in Southeast Liberia, especially Maryland, River Gee and Grand Gedeh Counties, respectively being implemented by the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms, UNDP and CSOs.
Mr. Yorwah says the initiative is clearly in support of protecting civilians from the danger of explosives, noting that assessment in five other counties – Lofa, Nimba, Cape Mount, Bong and Gbapolu reported discovery of two unexplored RPG rockets by miners in Gou-Nwolailia district, Gbapolu but were moved to a safer location under security watch.
Mr. Michael S. Yorwah