Ghana: Canada supports NGO Network on Small Arms and Light Weapons in Ghana

December 23, 2010 10:510 comments

The High Commission of Canada recently provided support to a NGO
Network called WAANSA-Ghana to assist its efforts in the fight against
illicit arms. WAANSA-Ghana is the Ghana Chapter of the West African
Action Network for Small Arms, a coalition of civil society
organisations and individuals interested in and/or working on small arms
and light weapons issues.

The escalation of gun violence and the use of small arms and light
weapons to fuel conflicts in Ghana is public knowledge. It is estimated
that over 80,000 illicit small arms are in the hands of civilians in
Ghana and 80% of crimes are committed using locally manufactured guns.
Gun based violence is on the increase. This is a matter of concern to
all Ghanaians.

Working with Ghanaian civil society on human security issues is a
natural evolution of the relationship of the High Commission of Canada
and Ghanaian institutions and organizations addressing security issues.
The High Commission already has a close working relationship with the
Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre on peacekeeping
and has worked with other civil society groups on support to UNSCR 1325
on women, peace and security in Ghana’s security sector.

As part of Canada’s support to WAANSA-Ghana, the High Commission
supported the development and publication of their Strategic Plan. The
President of WAANSA-Ghana, Ken Kinney, indicated that the Strategic Plan
aims to complement good governance for a peaceful, secure and gun-free

Kinney stated: “WAANSA-Ghana activities include information sharing,
sensitization, advocacy, research, dialogue and liaising with external
bodies and acting as a watch dog. WAANSA-Ghana will focus on the
activities of non-state actors, border management, stockpile management
and provide advice to government.”

HE Trudy Kernighan, Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, spoke at the
media launch: “The High Commission of Canada feels privileged to have
supported WAANSA-Ghana with their Strategic Plan that will guide their
actions towards the building of a secured environment for the
development of Ghana.”

She noted: “The proliferation and misuse of small arms continue to
threaten the security of people in West Africa as well as contribute to
emerging threats such as drug trafficking, human smuggling, terrorism
and violations of human rights. WAANSA-Ghana serves a critical role as
the link between Government and Civil Society to control small arms and
light weapons, and more importantly, to contribute to the safety and
security of Ghana’s men, women and children.”

To control the proliferation and use of illicit small arms in the
country, the Government of Ghana has created the Ghana National
Commission on Small Arms in 2007. The Ghana Government is also a
signatory to the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons and
has shown good faith to work with civil society actors to deal with the
threat of small arms by giving them a seat at the Commission.

WAANSA-Ghana collaborates with the National Commission as well as
other national and international institutions and organisations to
address the threat of small arms proliferation to Ghana. The launch of
WAANSA-Ghana’s Strategic Plan is a call to the media and the Ghanaian
Public to support WAANSA-Ghana as it takes on the critical role of
organised civil society in the fight against illicit arms.

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