As part of the “100 Days of Speaking Out!”, a countdown to the treaty negotiations, Control Arms will regularly feature stories and profiles of different people who support a bulletproof ATT.
The reflection below has been provided by Ms. Ebun James, General Secretary of the Sierra Leone Council of Churches:
“The Arms Trade Treaty matters to me because during Sierra Leone’s civil war the boys carrying guns were so young the gun barrels would drag on the ground when they walked. There were guns coming into our country via Libya, Burkina Faso and Liberia. There were so many guns around it affected you even if you wanted nothing to do with it.
When my husband had to go away he gave me a pistol for protection. I did not want it so I hid it in the attic. Later I took it into the bush and threw it away. The only way to deal with illegal weapons is to get rid of them and to stop new guns coming in. It’s like trying to stop smoking – you cannot keep getting cigarettes if you are trying to quit.
We had no choice but to survive all this violence, so we healed ourselves by our struggle for survival. The people affected by violence helped each other and community support was strong.
Today, thank God, there are fewer illegal guns and less violence. There are 26 churches in this council and we want stronger international laws to keep so many guns from ever coming into our country again.”