Action on Armed Violence Launches 2012 Report
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) on Wednesday 10th July, 2013 launched its report on official armed violence in Sierra Leone at the British Council Auditorium, Tower Hill, Freetown.
The report aims at improving understanding of the incidence and impact of armed violence in the country, to compare official reported incident rates to nationwide baseline survey incident rates and to inform partners in order to reduce armed violence and its impact in communities.
Delivering his key note address and official launch, Chief of Staff at State House, Dr. Richard Conteh stated that armed violence is multi-faceted and prefers simple or ready-made solutions. Any effort to make a meaningful dent must be backed up with a robust evidence base, strong inter-sector partnership and a comprehensive package of activities.
Dr. Conteh further stated that the Geneva Convention on Armed Violence and Development, endorsed by more than 100 Countries, committed signatories to supporting initiatives intend to measure the human, social economic cost of Armed Violence, to access risks and vulnerabilities, to evaluate the effectives of Armed Violence reduction programmes to disseminate knowledge of best practice.
He said that whether in situations of armed conflict or crime, violence has a devastating impact on development and threatens the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) adding that persistent inequality and underdevelopment are among its underlying causes.
Dr. Conteh maintained that the Geneva Declaration Secretariat in 2008 estimated that more than seven hundred and forty thousand (740,000) men, Women, Youths and Children are killed each year as a result of armed violence, noting that many more lives have been devastated through injury, trauma and the loss of economic opportunities.
The Chief of Staff said that the government is very much committed to the control and reduction of armed violence in Sierra Leone and indeed the whole West Africa Sub-Region and further disclosed that as a government they had entered several regional agreements as the country was part of the moratorium that forestalled the free flow of Small Armed and Light Weapons (SALW) which are used to commit armed violence in the sub- region with impunity. He said that the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Ammunition and other related materials were ratified in June 2006 by parliament in 2007 and that the government also enacted the three gender acts ( Domestic violence act, Devolution of property act and the Matrimonial act) in addition to the Child Rights Act.
He assured that government is fully aware of the current trend of violence in the country, adding that the government is very much concerned about the use of children in armed conflict taking into account that the United Nation Security Council Resolution on Children in armed conflict and recognizing the importance of civil society organizations in the fight against the proliferation of Small arms and Light Weapons find this wider dimension most encouraging and timely.
The event was graced by key stakeholders and members of the general public.
By Mohamed Y. Turay
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