|Journalists To Highlight Armed Violence Issues|
|Published on March 29, 2011||Email To Friend Print Version
At the close of a one-day editor's workshop in Monrovia on armed violence (AV), participating journalists have underscored the need for more public education on the violence and the effect it has on development, peace and stability.
The workshop which took place last Friday was organized by the Press Union of Liberia in collaboration with Landmine Action as a way of bringing the issues of AV to the knowledge of journalists to enable them help educate the public.
AV is a violent behavior associated with using objects including sticks, knives, rocks, machetes and other deadly weapons (not necessarily guns) to cause harm (physically or psychologically) and destruction. AV, according to the website ingentaconnect, consists of the use or threatened use of weapons to inflict injury, death or psychosocial harm, which undermines development.
Although present in all societies, armed violence disproportionately affects low- and-middle income countries (WHO, 2008; CICS, 2005a, 2005b; UNDP, 2005a; Small Arms Survey, 2003).
“The intent of the workshop is not only intended to for you (media practitioners) to know how to report on or about armed violence, but to report on the impact –negative impact of armed violence on the Liberian society,” Mr. Martin Kerkulah, Sr., Project Manager of the Armed Violence Observatory (AVO) in Liberia said.
Mr. Kerkulah, a veteran Liberian journalist and former lawmaker, said the awareness of AV (a Geneva Convention of 2006) in post war Liberia had since begun with the higher ups in terms of policy and decision-making, and the process is continuing.
The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development represents a high-level diplomatic initiative designed to support states and civil society actors to achieve measurable reductions in the global burden of armed violence in conflict and non-conflict settings by 2015 (and beyond).
The Declaration was first adopted by 42 states on 7 June 2006 during a Ministerial Summit in Geneva, to which the Swiss government and UNDP invited high-level representatives from ministries of foreign affairs and development agencies.
The Ministerial Summit reflected a strong common political will by both representatives of the donor community and from countries directly affected by armed violence to address the challenge of developing measures to reduce political and criminal armed violence in order to enhance sustainable development at the global, regional, and national level.
Since then, the Geneva Declaration is now endorsed by over 100 states including Liberia (2006).
Mr. Kerkulah said the AVO in Liberia will need political commitment and will if it must achieve its goals of reducing the incidence of AV and avoid the glaring economic consequences associated with it.
The AVO office in Liberia will among others, develop and oversee the implementation of: armed violence incidence and impact survey in Monrovia and selected areas prone to armed violence, Madam Teresa Dybeck, the AVO Coordinator in Liberia, said.
In addition, the AVO will develop proposals for follow on projects to reduce the incidence and impact of armed violence. Statistics gathered by the Observatory will be used by policy makers to take appropriate decision to curtail the situation.
A survey she said that was conducted two years ago in Monrovia indicated that the wave of AV was high, but said that might have fallen by now. However, Madam Dybeck said it was necessary for the Observatory to work to help the Liberian government and people counter Av which has negative effect on development, especially in a country rebuilding itself.
Although the incidence of armed conflict has declined in recent years, according to research report, the number of people killed by armed violence has not. More than 740,000 men, women, and children die each year as a result of armed violence.
The majority of these deaths—490,000—occur in countries that are not affected by armed conflicts. Armed violence affects all societies, all countries and people of all walks of lives.
The journalists, about 10, who attended the workshop, said they were leaving with new knowledge, but called for more of similar workshop not only with the media, but students (schools) and youth organizations – where many young people are, since young people are often prone to violent activities. Writes D Kaihenneh Sengbeh, email@example.com; 06 586 531