GENERAL DEBATE SEGMENT
STATEMENT OF THE DELEGATION OF GHANA DELIVERED BY MR. JOSEPH OWUSU-ANSAH, FIRST SECRETARY ON TUESDAY 23RD AUGUST, 2016.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Ghana aligns itself with the statements delivered yesterday by the African Union and ECOWAS.
Ghana congratulates you, Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe, on your presidency of the Second Conference of States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty. My delegation is particularly pleased with your skillful leadership of the preparatory process of this meeting.
Ghana also expresses gratitude to the Government of Switzerland for its long-standing commitment to the ATT process and for hosting the Second Conference of States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty. Our special thanks also go to Mr. Dumisani Dladla and the ATT interim Secretariat for the excellent organization of this meeting. We also recognize the immense contribution of civil society to the effective implementation and universalization of the ATT.
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has laid the foundations for a global framework of arms transfer controls, including for small arms and light weapons and ammunition. The ATT is designed to help advance international peace and security, reduce human suffering and promote cooperation, transparency and responsible action by States. The ATT requires States Parties to ensure that their arms exports are not used to violate arms embargoes, fuel conflicts, facilitate terrorism or engage in serious violations of international human rights or humanitarian law. This means that if more States ratify the ATT and agree to implement the Treaty genuinely, particularly articles 6 and 7, the misuse and illicit circulation of the thousands of weapons that are often part of the root cause of conflicts can be prevented.
Ghana remains committed to the need for a regional approach to combating the illicit trade in conventional weapons. The proliferation of such weapons does not only fuel regional conflicts but also benefit terrorist groups, who could destabilize an entire region with their wicked activities. The porous nature of the borders in our region, combined with advances in technology, communications, illicit financing and transportation have made the fight against this scourge even more complex.
Ghana wishes to reiterate its call made during the BMS6 of the imperative need for effective controls to regulate ammunition and the inclusion of ammunition in the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons (UNPoA) implementation. The statement recalled the several initiatives, discussions, proposals and efforts to have ammunition for small arms and light weapons explicitly included within the scope of the PoA, and that in the interests of securing a broad agreement, such efforts were ultimately abandoned at the 2001 UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
In that statement, which was supported by Forty-three (43) other States, Ghana indicated that it regarded ammunition inclusion in the implementation of the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons as fundamental to the underlying intent and application of the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, and that States should also commit to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in ammunitions in all its aspects, just as they do for the weapons themselves. Ammunition proliferation and misuse is a fundamental component of the wider problem of arms proliferation and misuse.
Ghana is committed to the ATT and in this light Ghana signed the ATT in September 2013 and subsequently deposited her instrument of ratification on the 22nd December 2015. In line with Article 22(2) of the ATT, Ghana became a proud State Party in March this year. We therefore warmly welcome the signatures and ratifications deposited by some States from all regions so far and call on States that have yet do so to consider becoming signatories and States Parties to the Treaty.
In Ghana’s view, the ATT should be implemented and enforced at the national level in a timely and comprehensive manner. Relative to this, Ghana is putting in place a comprehensive control system, including end-user certificates, National Control List, among others to control the flow of arms. Currently, a Technical Committee to finalize Ghana’s National Control List has been constituted with a task to complete the adoption of a control List for Ghana before the end of this year. Meanwhile, Ghana has, even before becoming a State Party to the ATT, dedicated itself to continue to review and strengthen its domestic legislation and enforcement of arms transfers.
Ghana has benefited from the EU-ATT Outreach project being implemented by the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control.
Through this support Ghana has benefited from two capacity building workshops targeted at the main implementing agencies of the ATT in Ghana.
Transparency in Arms transfer is, in Ghana’s view, a substantial confidence-building measure that could help assess if an excessive or destabilizing accumulation of arms is taking place. For Ghana, reporting is an effective tool for the implementation of the ATT. To this end Ghana is on course to submit her initial and annual reports before their respective deadlines.
The Government of Ghana wishes to assure the international community of her commitment to effectively combat the illicit trade in small arms by identifying in a timely manner new challenges and solutions with a view to closing the gaps that exist in Ghana’s small arms control efforts. Peace and security, and ensuring that levels of crime remain low, especially small arms-related crime, as Ghana prepares to hold the December 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections remain of outmost priority. This commitment was demonstrated during a small arms destruction program held in July this year during which over one thousand three hundred small arms retrieved from criminals were destroyed. This demonstrates Ghana’s resolve to create a safe environment for its people.
In conclusion, Ghana is convinced that a successful outcome of this Conference is both necessary and possible, and we commit ourselves to such an outcome which my delegation believes is the shared priority of all States at this Conference.
I thank you.