Royal police force of Antigua and Barbuda promotes gender mainstreaming into firearms-related criminal investigations

Royal police force of Antigua and Barbuda promotes gender mainstreaming into firearms-related criminal investigations

Forty officers from Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda enhanced their skills on how to conduct gender-sensitive firearms investigations.

From 7 to 18 November 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, carried out the Specialised Course on Firearms Investigations from a Gender Perspective (FIGP), aimed at strengthening participants’ technical knowledge on gender-sensitive firearms-related criminal investigations.

Participants represented the following institutions: Royal Police Force, the Defense Force, the Immigration Department, the Customs and Excise Division and the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy.

The course trained participants on applying gender perspectives to criminal firearms investigations as a complementary method of analysis, thereby contributing to hypothesis free from stereotypes, as well as to identifying evidence of gender-based violence, and ensuring the respect of the human rights or the victims and survivors. The involvement of firearms in violence against women not only leads to fatalities, but they are also used to threaten, intimidate and coerce women.

Course participants agreed on the importance of strengthening inter-institutional cooperation among the different agencies involved in cases related to violence against women, thus optimising their individual and collective efforts to reduce the levels of impunity.

This activity is part of the Canada funded project in support of the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

With initiatives such as this one, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, with the technical assistance of UNLIREC, shows its commitment to the prevention and eradication of violence against women.

Jamaica opens space for national dialogue to prevent the presence of firearms in schools

Jamaica opens space for national dialogue to prevent the presence of firearms in schools

On 26 October, the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY) of Jamaica, in collaboration with the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), hosted a roundtable meeting on responses to tackle the presence of firearms in schools. The roundtable meeting aimed at promoting dialogue at the national level on this phenomenon between the different stakeholders and sectors.

During the event, the current context of the presence of firearms in Jamaican schools, their possible impacts, and the challenges that this problem represents were discussed. Representatives from MoEY, the Jamaica Police Force and the Jamaica Planning Institute exchanged views and experiences highlighting some of the measures being implemented to address gun violence in schools.

Discussions focused on preventive approaches across the Latin American and Caribbean region. “While Jamaica has not had many incidents involving the use of firearms on school campuses, it is important that educators and agents of change must work together to proactively identify preventive approach”, emphasized a participant.

UNLIREC informed those discussions with a presentation on the main findings of its regional study ‘Firearms in Latin America and Caribbean Schools- Approaches, Challenges and Responses’. During the presentation, UNLIREC highlighted the main of the manifestations of this phenomenon as well as good practices which are implemented across the region.

To promote the exchange of good practices, the Ministry of Public Education from Costa Rica participated in the roundtable, sharing its initiative entitled ‘Gun Free Schools’, a public policy that is being implemented at the national level in all public schools in Costa Rica and that has includes in regulatory frameworks, protocols and guidelines, data collection, awareness raising campaigns and concrete actions which engage young people.

This virtual roundtable forms part of the activities carried out under the Saving Lives Entity (SALIENT) fund initiative in Jamaica, which seeks to operationalize and mainstreaming small-arms control into development efforts and policies in Jamaica.

The SALIENT fund initiative is implemented in Jamaica by the Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and its Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Belize works to reduce armed violence and crimes involving firearms

Belize works to reduce armed violence and crimes involving firearms

From 18 to 21 October 2022 Belizean authorities participated in the National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course and a Monitoring and Evaluation Roundtable Meeting with a view to reducing the effects of armed violence and gun crimes in Belize through strengthen capacities of national officials to respond to those phenomena.

The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) delivered the activities in collaboration with the Government of Belize.

The National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course was opened by Assistant Commissioner of Police Mr. Bartholomew Jones and Canadian Honoury Consul Ms. Marissa Longsworth, who welcomed the progress Belize is making in its commitment to the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap and reiterated Canada’s support to both Belize and the wider region.

The three-day training course covered topics such as firearms and ammunition identification and classification, chain of custody, which includes all procedures to protect and ensure the authenticity of evidence at crime scenes, as well as the analysis and management of ballistic information and intelligence, which could reduce impunity and prevent armed violence.

Twenty-nine officials participated in the course, including nine women, representing the Ministry of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, Belize Police Department, Belize Customs Department and Belize Forensic Science Service Laboratory involved in the investigation and prosecution of firearms crimes.

On October 21, following the course, the roundtable on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) was held to advance Belize’s National Action Plan on Firearms (NAP). Belize’s NAP is part of the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, supported by UNLIREC, CARICOM IMPACS s well as other donors and partners, to carry out concrete actions against illicit firearms trafficking and make the Caribbean a safer region.

National representatives from the Belize Customs Department and Belize Forensic Science Service Laboratory took part in the roundtable. During this activity UNLIREC presented the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, which will allow States to track progress on their NAPs and allow monitoring of the implementation of the Roadmap across the region. The roundtable allowed UNLIREC to conduct the baseline assessment with Belize, gathering detailed responses to a matrix of questions. This process allows States to have a robust foundation from which to measure their progress over the course of the Roadmap initiative under the M&E framework.

The National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course and M&E roundtable contribute to the implementation of Goal 1, “Reinforce regulatory frameworks governing firearms and ammunition” and Goal 3, “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” of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

This activity was funded by Canada and supports the implementation of international arms control instruments, in particular the UN Programme of Action on small arms.

Guyana trains officials on interdicting small arms and ammunition to prevent illicit trafficking

Guyana trains officials on interdicting small arms and ammunition to prevent illicit trafficking

From 5 October to 21 October 2022, nineteen officials, including four women, from the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Defence Force, Guyana Revenue Authority, Cheddi Jagan International Airport and Ogle Airport Inc. actively participated in the Interdicting Small Arms, Ammunition, Parts and Components (ISAAPC) course in order to strengthen their capacities to combat and prevent the illicit trafficking of small arms, ammunition and explosives.

The course, organized by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) in a hybrid format, was the first of its kind delivered to officials in Guyana.

Illicit trafficking of firearms, ammunition, including their parts and components, and explosives is often carried out through postal shipments, packages, parcels and luggage at entry, exit, and transit points in the country. The three-week training combined practical and theoretical aspects, as participants learned about the fundamental aspects of X-ray technology for the identification of firearms, their parts and components, ammunition and explosives, as well as of common methods of concealment. The course included extensive practical training on an X-ray simulation programme developed by the Centre for Adaptive Security Research and Applications (CASRA), to enhance and develop participant´s capacities to detect illicit trafficking through X-ray scanners.

The specialized course was developed in line with UN Programme of Action on small arms, the Arms Trade Treaty and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular target 16.4, and contributes towards regional efforts to prevent the illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition to reduce firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean as stipulated in the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

This activity was funded by Canada.

Guyana works to reduce armed violence and crimes involving firearms

Guyana works to reduce armed violence and crimes involving firearms

From 27 to 30 September 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of Guyana, held the National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course and a Monitoring and Evaluation Roundtable Meeting of the National Action Plan on firearms (NAP). Both activities contribute to reducing the effects of armed violence and gun crimes by strengthening the capacities of national officials to respond to them.

The National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course was opened by Mr. Robeson Benn, Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. from the Canadian High Commission, Mr Jake Thomas, who emphasized the importance of strengthened national capacity to combat illicit trafficking and firearms use, and the value of working as a region in a more coordinated manner.

The three-day training course covered topics such as firearms and ammunition identification and classification, chain of custody, which includes all procedures to protect and ensure the authenticity of evidence at crime scenes, as well as the analysis and management of ballistic information and intelligence, which could reduce impunity and prevent armed violence.

Twenty-six officials participated in the course, including five women, representing the Ministry of Home Affairs, Guyana Police Force Force, Guyana Revenue Authority and Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory involved in the investigation and prosecution of firearms crimes.

Following the course, a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) roundtable meeting was held on 30 September, to advance Guyana’s National Action Plan on Firearms (NAP). Guyana’s NAP is part of the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, supported by UNLIREC and CARICOM IMPACS, to implement actions against illicit firearms trafficking and make the Caribbean a safer region.

Six national representatives, including two women, from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Guyana Police Force, Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Guyana Revenue Authority took part in the roundtable.

During the roundtable, UNLIREC conducted the baseline assessment with Guyana, gathering detailed responses to a matrix of questions. This process allows States to have a robust foundation from which to measure their progress over the course of the Roadmap initiative. UNLIREC also presented the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, which will allow States to track progress on their NAPs and allow monitoring of the implementation of the Roadmap across the region.

The National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course and M&E roundtable contribute to the implementation of Goal 1, “Reinforce regulatory frameworks governing firearms and ammunition” and Goal 3, “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” of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

This activity was funded by Canada and supports the implementation of international arms control instruments, in particular the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

UNLIREC hosts SALIENT funded meeting in Jamaica in support of National Action Plan

UNLIREC hosts SALIENT funded meeting in Jamaica in support of National Action Plan

On 21 September 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), hosted a roundtable meeting in support of Jamaica’s National Action Plan under the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, which focused on privately manufactured firearms and the characteristics of an armed individual respectively.

The roundtable was opened by the UN Resident Coordinator to Jamaica and the Officer in charge of UNLIREC, before presenting participants with an update on the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

Following the introductory segment, a presentation was provided on privately manufactured firearms, also known as Ghost Guns. These are unmarked, non-serialized/self-fabricated firearms that are difficult to trace and do not comply with regulations associated with traditionally manufactured firearms. Participants discussed the various tools, materials and operating processes that are used to make illicitly, privately manufactured firearms, and the associated evidence that can be available to law enforcement when investigating cases involving privately manufactured firearms. During the discussions, participants emphasized the need to share information among the forensic labs and investigators to strengthen their capacity to respond to this new phenomenon effectively.

The second presentation and discussion focused on the characteristics of an armed individual. Participants discussed the current Jamaican Firearms Act and the proposed amendments, including who can legally possess a firearm and use a firearm. Participants also discussed the safety of law enforcement officers and other persons when responding to cases of armed violence. This included common factors which law enforcement officers and others should look out for when faced with armed suspects.

The roundtable was attended by twenty-two officials, including fifteen women, from the Ministry of National Security, Jamaica Defence Force, Jamaica Customs Authority, Firearms Licensing Authority, Institute of Forensic Science and Legal Medicine and Jamaica Constabulary Force.

The topics reflected issues of interest identified in Jamaica´s National Action Plan under the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap and the knowledge gained will strengthen the implementation of Goals Goal 2 (Reduce the illicit flow of firearms and ammunition into, within and beyond the region) and 3 (Bolster law enforcement capacity to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse) respectively.

The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Government of Jamaica and forms part of the technical assistance provided by UNLIREC under the Saving Lives Entity (SALIENT) initiative which aims to reduce violence and the proliferation of illicit firearms in Jamaica.