On 14 July, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) organized a virtual regional forum for Latin American countries which focused on measuring violence against women and the involvement and impact of firearms. During the forum, countries presented different initiatives and policies which assist with measuring the frequency and effects of firearms involved in violence against women.

The Women’s Office of the Supreme Court Justice of Argentina presented its methodology for documenting and analysing femicides which have been committed with firearms, while the General Directorate of Statistics and Censuses (DIGESTYC) of El Salvador highlighted the Gender Statistics Observatory. The Intersecta Organisation for Equality shared findings from a recent study on gender-based violence and firearms in Mexico, emphasizing the importance of complementary information sources alongside administrative reports, to better understand the actual magnitude of armed violence against women.

Similarly, the Centre of Excellence for Government Statistical Information, Public Security, Victimisation and Justice (UNODC-INEGI) presented a statistical framework for the measurability of femicides, while the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) focused its intervention on advances and challenges in measuring femicide rates in Latin America.

The event showcased the negative impacts of firearms when involved in different acts of violence against women and existing challenges on determining and counting femicides. Comprehensive data collection is vital for building an evidence base which should inform policy making in order to prevent and eliminate such violence.

Participants at the event included representatives working in arms control, security, the prevention of violence against women, gender, justice, statistics, and other public sectors and drew participation from Argentina, Columbia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama as well as representatives from the United Nations, regional organisations, and civil society.

This event was funded by the European Union and is part of the global project ‘Supporting gender mainstreamed policies, programmes, and actions in the fight against small arms trafficking and misuse, in line with the Women, Peace and Security agenda´.