VIRTUAL GATHERING AND PHYSICAL ARRIVAL
The event opened with a dance performance by OLA GIRLS cultural troupe depicting the consequences of gun violence on communities.
Opening statement by Juliet
She touched on a host of reasons why it became imperative for such an event to be held at such an opportune time. Among the many things she highlighted include the ever increasing rate of,
- Spousal killings
- Ritual murders
- Chieftaincy Disputes
- Ethnic and Tribal Clashes
- Armed Robbery and the general State of insecurity in the country etc.
She ended with a clarion call on all and sundry to join in the fight against the illicit arms trade.
Introduction of IPB its work and growth in Africa by Reiner Braun
He described the role of IPB in advocacy efforts against small arms trade and gun violence around the world. IPB’s role in connecting the different national and sectorial African peace movements together as well as with other regional networks from around the globe has grown and is reflected by the collaborative effort that brought about the current event.
1ST SPEAKER (DR. GEORGE TESILIMI BANJI)
Notable points from George’s speech suggests that, a cursory look at the society (Ghana) reveals the following:
- Our population is expanding daily.
- The resources to enable us meet our needs are also scarce (limited resources).
- Every one or youth are desperate to succeed.
- Society also places premium or humor on fame or being rich within the shortest possible time.
- Everyone is looking for an opportunity to protect or secure something through fictitious ways whether small or big.
Dr. George concluded that, the aforementioned has brought about the sudden increase in the number of arms and weapons beyond those needed for legitimate national security.
He again highlighted the impact of the small arms on the youth which ranges from:
- The potential to cause or worsen Communal Conflicts.
- Its threat to human security.
- Impact on Elections.
- Its effect on the development of the state (Ghana).
- Its potential to worsen transnational crime across the sub-region.
2ND SPEAKER (PROF. ISAAC GALYUON)
Prof. Isaac said the recent happenings in Ghana’s development agenda is based on four pillars: Social, Economic, Environmental and Institutional development: all aimed at eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities in all forms and these pillars embodied what is needed to transform the lives of our people and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the Small Arms Survey estimate shows that over 2 million fire arms are in the hands of civilians with more than half not registered. The proliferation is induced by conflicts; feeling that one needs to protect oneself, one’s friends or family; weak national security sector or feelings of mistrust in the security sector among others.
He continued and talked about the impact of the proliferation of small arms on Ghanaian youth is grievous and the surest way to mitigate its impact is through economic empowerment, fair distribution of resources and provision of quality of education.
He concluded that we owe ourselves a responsibility to protect the future of our country and more especially the youth.
3RD SPEAKER (MOSES)
He admonished that arms are not meant for the use of civilians but rather meant to be used by the security agencies in defense of the nation and that, it is a crime on the part of any civilian to possess unregistered arms.
Moses concluded that, we must put measures in places to settle disputes, misunderstandings and quarrels among the people in order to prevent the further use or proliferation of small arms.
Jurgrn Grasslin could not e present via zoom but instead sent an advanced video.
In the video, Jurgen touched key issues in relation to the subject matter in discussion. A few were
- Civil wars in USA, Russia, Brazil and some African staes.
- Mars murder by small arms. Killing about 500,000 people every year. The proliferation facilitates the abuse of children, said Johannes Wednig, head of te Unicef programme in eastern Congo.
- Military – owned fireams.
- Ammunition transfer to Africa.
Jurgen said the world’s top and major exported of small arms and light weapons are The United state of America, Italy, Brazil, Germany, South Korea, Austria, Turkey, Russian Federation, Czech republic and Belgium.
Jurgen’s recommendations are as follows:
- Give victims a voice and panel discussion.
- Protest to seek justice for victims.
- Factory blockade at the headquarters of Tribunal at Heckler and Kock on 8 October 2021
- Critical share holders Heckler and Kock protesting inside and outside the Annual meeting.
It is our belief and hope that, at the end of this all important event, stake holders such as The Government, The National Peace Council, The Legislature, Academia, Religious Organizations, Traditional Rulers etc. will put this subject on the fore-burner of our National Discourse as we collectively try to win this war. Students need to be educated on small arms at the early stages of their lives which can be integrated into some of the subjects.
- I saw my father shoot my mum. I am scared of getting married because I feel all men are violent like my father. I come to school and see people trying to stub their friends with sharp objects. How can I get over this fear?
- Under what circumstance can an individual display an arm without being penalised.
- My parents are in possession of illegal arms, would it be appropriate if I report them to the Police?
- Supposing I was attacked by armed robbers and during the confrontation, I managed to snatch the gun from one of the robbers and shot them, would the law deal with me?
- Is it okay for one to possess a gun? If yes, at what age?
In response to the aforementioned questions, the state Attorney General made it clear that, it is unlawful for an individual to possess or display a fire arm in public. Any individual who goes contrary to it would be dealt with by the law. He educated the audience concerning crimes which are related to small arms. Other Speakers also elaborated on students questions which are emotionally based. They gave their contact out to students who could not ask personal questions. They also advised students who needs counselling to see a counselor.
We encountered technical hitches which prevented the virtual speakers and attendee’s to miss some sessions of the webinar. A lot of students who wanted to watch live on facebook could not due to we having limited resources to enable us stream the program live.
A lot of Students were present but the hall could not contain them also.
640 out of 720 participants rated the event – very good, 80 participants rated the event – good which translates into 89% and 11% respectively indicating an overwhelming success rating of the event, far exceeding our expectation prior to its commencement.
All participants would want the program to be organized again.