By Amie Sanneh
The West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), recently held a stakeholders’ roundtable meeting to bring up to speed the ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in The Gambia. The ratification of the convention is in line with the African Union master roadmap of practical steps to silence the guns on the continent, by the year 2020.
The Coordinator of WANEP, Anna Jones, said the Network as the focal point of the Cluster Munitions Coalition in The Gambia, has been campaigning for the ratification of the cluster Munitions Convention since its existence and they want to bring up to speed the process of ratification. “We have worked closely in the past with the line ministry. We have made some headway in the past. We also had challenges along the way in the implementation process,” she said. Madam Jones added that through their discussions with the Ministry of Defense, they have been told that cabinet paper has been submitted and it will go to parliament shortly and they hope that this will be ratified. She explained that they have had series of sensitisation workshops in the past and have established a technical working group that came up with recommendations which at that time, seems realistic and they were hopeful that the convention would have been ratified by now. But that unfortunately, they had some hitches. “In September, The Gambia Government made a statement in Geneva that the convention would be ratified by the next meeting of State parties in September 2018,” she said. She therefore stressed the need for them to work together to ensure the ratification of the convention noting that in West Africa, only two countries are yet to ratify the convention and these are The Gambia and Benin.
Present at the meeting were National Assembly Members who were sensitised on the convention for their understanding and easy ratification, once it reaches them.