UNLIREC holds Executive Seminar and Inter-Institutional Roundtable Meetings on the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, with Saint Vincent & the Grenadines

UNLIREC holds Executive Seminar and Inter-Institutional Roundtable Meetings on the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, with Saint Vincent & the Grenadines

On 25-27 April 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the Caribbean Community’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS), in collaboration with the Government Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, hosted an Executive Seminar and Inter-Institutional Roundtable meeting for the advancement of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines National Action Plan for the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

The Executive Seminar presented the opportunity to introduce the context and process for the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap initiative; provided sensitization on the monitoring and evaluation elements of the Roadmap; and discussed the national issues and challenges around firearms and firearms related crime. CARICOM IMPACS provided regional context, information on regional mechanisms and the role of IMPACS in relation to firearms. The Roundtable meetings covered the four goals of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap and included presentations on the legal aspects of the Roadmap, primarily related to Goal 1, and best practices as they relate to Goals 2, 3 and 4 respectively. The three days of inter-agency dialogue concluded with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines identifying its draft list of national priorities and a significant proportion of its baseline assessment.

A total of 27 national representatives, including 6 women took part in the 3-day event. Participants emanated from the Ministry of National Security, the Police Force, Forensic Laboratory, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Fire Department, Coast Guard, Customs and Immigration, Ministry of Attorney General and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Executive Seminar and Inter-Institutional Roundtables were carried out in line with the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Sustainable Development Goal 16 and target 16.4, and contribute towards the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap. The meetings were made possible thanks to support of the government of Canada.

UNLIREC, as the regional office of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

Haiti addresses Goal 4 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap during round table meeting to advance its National Action Plan

Haiti addresses Goal 4 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap during round table meeting to advance its National Action Plan

On 21 April 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of Haiti and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), and with financial support of the Government of Germany, hosted the first preliminary inter-institutional roundtable meeting to advance Haiti’s National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

The virtual meeting focused on Goal 4 of the Roadmap which seeks to systematically decrease the risk of diversion of firearms and ammunition from government and non-government owned arsenals. It covered the Modular Small-arms-control Implementation Compendium (MOSAIC) and the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG) as international best practices and valuable guidelines for physical security and stockpile management. UNLIREC also highlighted the importance of maintaining technical and administrative standards, conducting periodic risk assessments, and reviewing security plans to diminish the risk of loss, accidents, or diversion of weapons and ammunition in the region.

The Government of the United States of America has pledged financial support to the first phase of implementation of Goal 4 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, specifically the destruction of weapon surpluses and relevant training and equipment. Therefore, UNLIREC also presented an overview of its technical assistance for the implementation of such activities.

Haiti adopted the ‘Roadmap for Implementing the Caribbean Priority Actions on the Illicit Proliferation of Firearms and Ammunition across the Caribbean in a Sustainable Manner by 2030’ (Caribbean Firearms Roadmap) following a regional meeting of Caribbean Heads of Governments in 2019. On 15 February 2022, Haiti became the 12th State to commence concrete actions under the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap and initiated the process to establish a NAP for its implementation.

UNLIREC, in tandem with the other co-custodia CARICOM IMPACS, is lending technical assistance to the development of the NAP in Haiti and its successive implementation.

UNLIREC, as the regional centre under the umbrella of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

UNLIREC trains Belize Customs and Excise Department and Belize Police Department on interdicting small arms, ammunition and explosives

UNLIREC trains Belize Customs and Excise Department and Belize Police Department on interdicting small arms, ammunition and explosives

From 19 April to 6 May 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) delivered its Interdicting Small Arms, Ammunition, Parts and Components (ISAAPC) course in virtual format in Belize. Sixteen (16) officials, including one woman, from Customs and Excise Department and Belize Police Department actively participated in the virtual course. This course was delivered to officials in Belize for the first time.

The ISAAPC course forms part of the technical assistance provided by UNLIREC within its ‘Support in the Implementation of the  project. The specialized course aims to strengthen the capacities of States to combat and prevent the illicit trafficking of small arms, ammunition and explosives that is carried out through postal shipments, packages, parcels and luggage at entry, exit, and transit points in the country.

Based on a mix of theory and practical elements, participants were trained on the fundamental aspects of X-ray technology, technical specifications of small arms, their parts and components, ammunition, explosives, and less lethal weapons. The course also included an interactive session on concealment methods being employed by traffickers in the region. Furthermore, participants received practical training on an X-ray simulation programme developed by the Centre for Adaptive Security Research and Applications (CASRA), thereby enhancing and developing their capacities to detect illicit trafficking through X-ray scanners.

This specialized course, developed in line with 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms, the Arms Trade Treaty and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular target 16.4, contributes towards regional efforts to prevent illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition, thereby reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean. This course also contributes to Goal 2 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, entitled ‘Reduce the illicit flow of firearms and ammunition into, within and beyond the region’.

The implementation of the ISAAPC course was made possible with the financial support from the Government of Canada.

UNLIREC conducted a web seminar in the Dominican Republic on the importance of arms control in the prevention of violence against women

UNLIREC conducted a web seminar in the Dominican Republic on the importance of arms control in the prevention of violence against women

On April 12, UNLIREC,  together with the Ministry of Women of the Dominican Republic, held a virtual seminar on “Measures to prevent armed violence against women” in which more than 90 people from different sectors of government and civil society participated.  

One of the main purposes of the event was to warn about the contribution of firearms control in the prevention of violence against women, taking into account that the region presents alarming figures of intentional gender-based homicides of women and girls. In 2019 there were 4,615 femicides in 18 countries in the region, representing 12 of these crimes per day. The Dominican Republic has 1 of the 5 highest femicide rates in the region (2.4 for every 100,000 women).

In this regard, emphasis was made on the challenges involved in measuring femicide, especially in countries where it is has not yet been criminalized in the penal code. The importance of measuring the use of firearms in psychological, physical and sexual violence against women, which can be collected at the time of reporting these acts, was also highlighted.

The webinar also served to share the main findings and recommendations of UNLIREC’s Normative Study: Making the link between norms on violence against women and small arms control and regulation norms. The importance of contemplating the suspension and revocation of firearms licences in cases of gender-based violence, as well as the seizure and confiscation of these weapons, since they represent a danger to women, were also noted. Likewise, it was highlighted how important it is to analyze the suitability of the applicant for a firearms license, not only based on the absence of a criminal record, but also on a risk profile of the candidate.

The Dominican Republic provided statistics on femicides and homicides committed against women in the country, results of the National Household Survey, the registry of complaints of violence against women, as well as the results of various studies of national scope that point to the prevalence of gender stereotypes and mandates that reproduce violence against women.

In this context, the Ministry of Women has presented the Strategic Plan “For a Life Free of Violence toward Women, Adolescents and Girls” which includes different strategic axes – prevention, care, punishment, reparation, legal framework and coordination – as well as the formation of an intersectoral cabinet chaired by the Ministry of Women and composed of different Ministries and state agencies: Interior, Defence, Health, Education, Youth, Labour, Economy, National Police, Attorney General’s Office, National Statistics Office.

In addition to the intersectoral approach, the inclusion of representatives of civil society organizations and universities is noteworthy.

The event concluded with the participation of the audience, who were interested in how to transfer this work at the educational level, especially in schools, work at the local level, legal assistance to women victims of violence, and on the next steps to follow.  

The activity was made possible thanks to the support of the European Union within the framework of the 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”.

UNLIREC trains Grenada Customs and Excise Division, Royal Grenada Police Force and Grenada airport Authority on interdiction of small arms, ammunition and explosives

UNLIREC trains Grenada Customs and Excise Division, Royal Grenada Police Force and Grenada airport Authority on interdiction of small arms, ammunition and explosives

From 21 to 31 March 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) delivered its Interdicting Small Arms, Ammunition, Parts and Components (ISAAPC) course in hybrid format in Grenada. Twenty-nine (29) officials, including 12 women, from Grenada Customs and Excise Division, Royal Grenada Police Force and Grenada Airport Authority actively participated in the course. This course was delivered to officials in Grenada for the first time.

The ISAAPC course forms part of the technical assistance provided by UNLIREC within its ‘Securing Borders and Preventing and Combating Illicit Trafficking of Firearms and Ammunition’ project. The specialized course aims to strengthen the capacities of States to combat and prevent the illicit trafficking of small arms, ammunition and explosives that is carried out through postal shipments, packages, parcels and luggage at entry, exit, and transit points in the country.

Based on a mix of theory and practical elements, participants were trained on the fundamental aspects of X-ray technology, technical specifications of small arms, their parts and components, ammunition, explosives, and less lethal weapons. The course also included an interactive session on concealment methods being employed by traffickers in the region. Furthermore, participants received practical training on an X-ray simulation programme developed by the Centre for Adaptive Security Research and Applications (CASRA), thereby enhancing and developing their capacities to detect illicit trafficking through X-ray scanners.

This specialized course, developed in line with 2001 UN Porgramme of Action on Small Arms, Arms Trade Treaty and Sustainable Development Goal target 16.4, contributes towards regional efforts to prevent illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition, thereby reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean. This course also contributes to Goal 2 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap under the title ‘Reduce the illicit flow of firearms and ammunition into, within and beyond the region’.

The implementation of the ISAAPC course was made possible with the financial support from the Government of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

UNLIREC holds Firearms Identification Workshop for Trinidad and Tobago

UNLIREC holds Firearms Identification Workshop for Trinidad and Tobago

On 14 March 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), delivered a Firearms Identification Workshop: From Crime Scene to Court, in Trinidad and Tobago.

The workshop, aimed at investigators, prosecutorial and public defense agencies, judicial officers, legal officers and policy personnel, showcased several approaches to firearms identification, covering topics such as firearms and ammunition identification; comparative pattern analysis; ballistic imaging; shooting reconstruction; and court testimony.

Firearm identification and examination involve the analysis of firearm-related evidence. While this typically includes comparing firearms and fired bullets and cartridge cases to determine if those bullets or cartridge cases could have been fired from the firearm, it can and usually does, involve much more. The workshop explored the examination of firearms to determine if they are functional or modified to function in a way that was not intended by the manufacturer. It also covered the restoration of serial numbers that have been obliterated from the firearms, often stolen, to prevent the tracing of the firearm which would allow law enforcement agencies to identify the last known point of possession. Another key area presented was the process of examining fired bullets or cartridge cases from a crime scene to compare them with any recovered, unfired ammunition. Shooting reconstructions are also a relatively common process that was touched upon, which provides information that can corroborate or refute various accounts of a shooting. And importantly, the use of ballistic imaging technology, which involves the imaging of fired bullets a from crime scenes to be searched against a database of like entries to determine the potential that the same firearm was used at other shooting scenes, was also explored.

One hundred and twenty officials, including seventy-four women, from the Judiciary, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Public Defenders Department, Ministry of National Security, Police Service, Forensic Science Centre, Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Strategic Services Agency and Police Complaints Authority participated in the workshop.

The Firearms Identification Workshop contributes towards the implementation of Goal 3 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, Bolster law enforcement capacity to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse, and ammunition, and ultimately reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean. The course was made possible with the financial support of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

UNLIREC, as the regional centre of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the Programme of Action on Small Arms.