1st Annual Meeting of States to discuss advances made on Caribbean Firearms Roadmap

1st Annual Meeting of States to discuss advances made on Caribbean Firearms Roadmap

9 November 2021 – The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) hosted the 1st Annual Meeting of States to discuss the progress made in the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, including the elaboration of National Action Plans (NAPs) for Roadmap implementation. Over 90 representatives from beneficiary Caribbean States, partners and the donor community participated in this online international event to take stock of the progress made to date.

The Roadmap aims to accelerate and bolster States’ efforts to prevent and combat the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons among the 15 CARICOM States and the Dominican Republic. The Roadmap serves as a guiding document for commonly agreed levels of performance at the strategic, policy and operational levels. It was developed in 2019 under the auspices of the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America and formally adopted one year ago in October 2020.

The Roadmap takes into consideration the provisions found in the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (UN 2001 PoA), as well as the legal obligations stemming from the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (The Firearm Protocol). Its effective implementation will also contribute to the implementation of Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal 16, with a specific focus on Target 16.4 aimed at significantly reducing arms flow.

To date, three Caribbean States have formally adopted their NAPs, namely Grenada, Belize and Antigua and Barbuda. These Plans outline States priorities in combating the illicit trafficking in firearms and ammunition and help to track progress by serving as a monitoring and tracking tool. Remaining States are also well on their way to progressing towards formal adoption of these Action Plans and thus contributing to enhanced firearms control in the region. Close to USD$ 4 million have been invested in the region over the past two years leading to 70 activities in the implementation of the 4 Roadmap Goals.

As a lead-up to this Meeting, UNLIREC and CARICOM IMPACS – as the co-custodians and main implementing partners of the Roadmap – hosted two prior meetings in October. The first was targeted at the other implementing partners, including the UN Development Programme, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, World Customs Organization, Organization of American States, INTERPOL, and Small Arms Survey, to inform and collaborate on upcoming partner activities in support of the Roadmap. While the second was aimed at the donor community, including Germany, Canada, United States of America, European Union, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, that provides essential financial support to partners in favour of beneficiary States.

For more information on the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap and the progress made to date, please contact UNLIREC’s Political Affairs Officer, Amanda Cowl, at cowl@unlirec.org.

UNLIREC trains Guatemalan police and justice staff in firearms investigation from the gender perspective

UNLIREC trains Guatemalan police and justice staff in firearms investigation from the gender perspective

From 12-23 July 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivered a Specialised course on firearms investigations from a gender perspective (FIGP) to close to 30 officials.

Thanks to the cooperation of the Ministry of the Interior, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Judicial Studies School, an interinstitutional group was formed, consisting of officials from the women’s office and the office against femicide; judges from the femicide court, violence against women, and sexual violence; investigators from the National Police, specifically from the femicide department, Department for Crimes against Life, and the division specialising in criminal investigation.

The course, as well as helping to sensitize participants on the importance of incorporating a gender perspective into tackling crimes committed with firearms, strengthens the technical knowledge of the scientific method of criminal investigation and interinstitutional cooperation in these fields.

The diverse nature of the group emphasized one of FIGP’s objectives: strengthening staff coordination and cooperation to optimize individual and collective efforts to tackle crimes related to violence against women and firearms.

The course was carried out virtually and separated into six interactive conferences, in which participants could present their experiences and converse with UNLIREC instructors. Theoretical and technical aspects of criminal investigation were discussed in detail, as well as the way in which the gender perspective as a method of analysis helps us reach conclusions free from stereotypes, grounded in objective technical or scientific studies that are based on relevant theory. Case studies were conducted to highlight the absence of a gender perspective, which violates the rights of victims and their families.

During the training, emphasis was placed on the use of firearms to commit different types of violence against women, not only as a murder weapon, but also as a means to threaten, intimidate and coerce. The training stressed the importance of the correct management of a crime scene and of firearms and ammunition as physical evidence in investigations from a gender perspective. The course shared good practices with participants and urged them to strengthen interaction and cooperation across the different stages of judicial investigation, to optimize individual and collective efforts to tackle crimes related to firearms with special attention given to cases of gender-based violence. This helps to reduce levels of impunity and improves justice and security institutions.

This course forms part of the ‘Support for the integration of the gender perspective in policies, programmes and action in the fight against trafficking and the misuse of small arms’ project, funded by the European Union.

UNLIREC holds webinar on “Measures for preventing armed violence against women” for institutions and authorities from Cajamarca, Peru

On 1 October 2020, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in coordination with the decentralized Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cajamarca, held a webinar on “Measures for preventing armed violence against women”.

More than 70 regional and local officials from the Judiciary, Public Prosecutor’s Office, National Police, regional and municipal government authorities, SUCAMEC, and Women’s Emergency Centres participated.

The seminar contextualized armed violence and violence against women in Peru and provided a gender-sensitive analysis based on gender-disaggregated statistical data to highlight the unequal impact of firearms on men and women. Continuing in this vein, UNLIREC presented the findings from its Normative Study on the link between norms on gender-based violence and small arms control and regulatory standards.

Furthermore, to promote a comprehensive approach to these problems, UNLIREC invited the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) to present the different policies for preventing armed violence against women in Peru, in particular in Cajamarca.

Finally, UNLIREC presented an overview of the measures adopted in Peru and other countries of the region to address, prevent and reduce violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as recommendations on how to integrate firearms control measures into these strategies from a gender perspective. UNLIREC called to evaluate the continuation of some measures and recommendations beyond the pandemic.

Attendees were able to share their concerns, experiences and interest in the issues addressed via the platform’s chat. At all times, the importance of coordination and cooperation among institutions with responsibilities in both issues were emphasized: the prevention of armed violence against women and attention to the victims, and the control and regulation of firearms and ammunition.

This activity forms part of UNLIREC’s Women, Disarmament, Non-proliferation and Arms Control Programme, supported by the Government of Canada and the European Union.