NEWZEALAND DELEGATION VISITS SMALL ARMS COMMISSION

A two-member delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of NewZealand paid a working visit to the Small Arms Commission.

The delegation includes Mr. Finnian Cheshire, Policy Officer of the United Nations, Human Rights and Commonwealth Division and Mr. David Lilly, Second Secretary on Mulilateral issues at the NewZealand High Commission in Ghana.

The visit was to ascertain the security situation in Ghana and how the country was dealing with the threats of the proliferation of smalls arms into the country in the light of the crises situation in Mali. It was also to assess the level of preparedness of the Government of Ghana to host the upcoming Cluster Munition Workshop in September which is aimed at drafting a model legislation on Cluster Munitions for African countries to be incorporated into their national laws using the Ghanaian law as a model.

In his remark, Mr. Finnian Cheshire applauded Ghana’s thriving democracy and stability in the sub-region even though it was surrounded by neighbours who have been struggling with crises and conflicts. He observed that the crises situation in Mali has made the proliferation of small arms in West-Africa a major challenge which required concerted effort of all stakeholders to deal with the situation.

He reiterated his country’s commitment to explore areas that they can support Ghana to deal with the proliferation of small arms in the country.

On his part, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Small Arms Commission, Mr. Jones Applerh noted that Ghana’s admirable progress politically has made it a victim of its own success since Ghana is not considered a priority in terms of support from development partners for small arms and light weapons control.

He mentioned that even though the Commission was still young, it had performed creditably in fulfilling its mandate. He said the Commission stood tall in the sub-region as one of the fast growing and efficient commissions whose initiatives were contributing tremendously towards the control of illicit small arms and light weapons.

Mr. Applerh appealed to the Government of NewZealand to assist the Commission in the areas of capacity-building for its staff on gun control to enable them effectively discharge their duties.

He thanked the delegation for their visit and expressed hope that their deliberations will yield positive results.