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Malawi joins global action against gun violence

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By Richard Chirombo:

Malawi has joined the world in commemorating Global Week of Action against Gun Violence, a campaign that seeks to sensitise people to dangers firearms pose to human life and property.

International Action Network on Small Arms launched Global Week of Action against Gun Violence in 2003 after, in the same year, 153 United Nations (UN) member states, including Malawi, voted at the UN General Assembly for a resolution on establishing an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a comprehensive plan of action aimed at controlling the proliferation of small arms and conventional weapons.

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United Nations Security Council Resolutions, specifically Resolution 1325 and 1820, recognise the importance of security, especially for vulnerable groups such as women.

Peoples Federation for National Peace and Development (Pefenap) Executive Director, Edward Chaka, who, Wednesday, organised a peace march under the theme ‘Rise Up for Humanity: Control The Guns’ in Chileka, Blantyre, said Malawians should be proactive on firearms’ use.

“The Week of Action (WoA) is a chance for Pefenap and other stakeholders, the government, security departments and private security companies to advocate collectively for an end to illicit trade and misuse of small arms and light weapons.

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“This [WoA] is an opportunity for the Malawi government to exert greater control over ammunition— the component that makes guns lethal; make concrete commitments to increasing women’s participation in small arms control and provide greater support to survivors of gun violence,” he said.

He further called for the stockpiling of surplus stocks of illicit guns and ammunition, crack-down on corruption and strengthening of legislation that would culminate in the disarmament of domestic violence perpetrators.

One of the people who took part in the march, Michael Chimkango, said he was interested in sustaining national peace; hence, his interest in initiatives that promote peace.

“I have been to countries such as Mozambique and South Africa, where small arms, most of them obtained illegally, are concentrated in citizens’ hands. I think we can prevent such a situation in Malawi by putting in place mechanisms that will control the use of small arms,” he said.

The WoA is being commemorated at a time Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) call for controls on arms flows. For instance, SDG 16.4 calls on UN member states to “significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows”, with SDG 5.2 calling on countries to “eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls” while SDG 4A encourages stakeholders to “provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all”.

Apart from Global Week of Action against Gun Violence, there is also International Gun Destruction Day, which falls on July 9.

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