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WANEP Gambia holds workshop on convention on cluster munitions

Aug 20, 2014, 10:02 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP)-The Gambia recently organised a day workshop for stakeholders on the convention on cluster munitions, at the NANA conference Hall in Bakau.

Speaking at the workshop, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Yusupha Dibba, pointed out that the convention was a global effort on limiting, monitoring and preventing stockpiles of dangerous unexploded ammunitions, which was very important to security and safety, especially in the rural communities.

Therefore, he said, there is urgent need to take control of stockpiling and to discourage the spread of munitions, and other related small arms and light weapons.

Dibba further pointed out that The Gambia had recognised the convention on cluster munitions that also look at the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm to civilians caused by these weapons and its explosives.

Ms Pamela Cole, coordinator of WANEP-The Gambia, said the workshop was to brainstorm, discuss, learn from each other and chart the way forward for the successful ratification of the Cluster Munitions Convention and the ECOWAS Small Arms Convention, as well as making the Mine Ban Treaty work and the implementation process.

“Peace and peace-building has always been the business of WANEP and I believe that is the case for every person,” she said.

Therefore, a conference on the ratification and implementation of the instruments in question should come as no surprise to peace-loving people, Ms Cole added.

Over the years, the Government of The Gambia together with other stakeholders has directly and actively participated in all the processes leading up to the Mine Ban Treaty, ECOWAS Small Arms and Light Weapons Convention and Cluster Munitions Convention, she said.

Small arms, cluster munitions and land mines are weapons that have brought about untold suffering to millions of ordinary civilians, especially women and children around the world, Madam Cole stated.

Vast farm lands have been abandoned and made bare as a result of their destructive and inaccurate nature, as a result, poverty becomes apparent as livelihood is destroyed, she added.

She said combatants and artillery tanks are usually targeted in such operations, unfortunately 40 per cent of these weapons that drop to the ground fail to explode on impact thereby becoming potential danger to civilians long after the cessation of war.