From 30 August to 10 September 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in cooperation with the National Institute of Women and the Secretariat of International Relations of Mexico, carried out the Specialised Course on Gender Perspective in the Investigation of Crimes involving Firearms (CEGAF).
Thanks to the collaboration of the Attorney General’s Office, it was possible to summon more than 40 prosecutors, prosecutors, criminal experts and investigative police from the Attorney General’s Offices of 28 States of Mexico (units specialized in femicide, gender-based crimes, criminalistics and expert services) to attend the meeting.
The CEGAF course, in addition to helping sensitize participants about the importance of gender perspective in crimes committed with firearms, also strengthens the technical knowledge applicable to the scientific method of criminal investigation, as well as interinstitutional cooperation in these areas.
The federal composition of the group’s members made it possible to exchange different realities and challenges they face. Emphasis was also placed on the need to strengthen the coordination and cooperation of the participating personnel in order to optimize their individual and collective efforts to deal with crimes related to violence against women (VAW) and firearms.
The course was developed virtually and distributed in six interactive meetings, in which the participants were able to contribute their experiences and speak with UNLIREC instructors. The theoretical and technical aspects of criminal investigations were addressed and the way in which the gender perspective – as a method of analysis – contributes to the formulation of stereotype-free conclusions, supported by objective technical or scientific studies based on the appropriate theory. Case studies were also used throughout the training to raise awareness of the absence of a gender perspective and the violation of rights that it causes in the victims and their families.
During the training, emphasis was placed on the use of firearms to commit different types of VAW, that is, not only when it is involved as a murder weapon, but also when it is used as an instrument to threaten, intimidate and coerce. The importance of the correct handling of the crime scene and of firearms and ammunition as physical evidence in the investigation with a gender perspective of crimes against women was highlighted. Finally, good practices were shared and participants were urged to strengthen the articulation and cooperation between all the actors involved in the different stages of the judicial investigation in order to optimize their individual and collective efforts to deal with crimes related to firearms with special attention to cases of gender-based violence, thus helping to reduce the levels of impunity and strengthen the capacities of the institutions of the justice and security sectors.
This activity forms part of the project entitled “Support for the integration of the gender perspective in policies, programs and actions in the fight against trafficking and misuse of small arms” funded by the European Union.
From 24-28 May 2021, 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 modality. 21 officials (5 women) from The Bahamas Customs and Excise Department and Royal Bahamas Defence Force actively participated in the course. This was the second time that course was delivered to The Bahamas.
The ISAAPC course forms part of the technical assistance provided by UNLIREC within its ‘Combat of illicit Firearms and Ammunition Trafficking in Latin American and the Caribbean’ 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 theoretical-practical methodology, the participants received specialized training 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 program 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 Program of Action on Small Arms, Arms Trade Treaty and Sustainable Development Goal 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.
The implementation of the ISAAPC course was made possible thanks to the financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany.
13 May 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Argentine Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity, delivered an online seminar on ‘measures to prevent armed violence against women’.
Close to 130 people participated in representation of different public bodies and social organisations that tackle problems vis-a-vis armed violence and disarmament. It is important to underline that more than 80% of participants were women. This is an encouraging figure given that one of the objectives of the UNLIREC’s ‘Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control’ programme is to promote women’s participation and training in these areas.
The seminar began with an overview and analysis of regional and global numbers related to armed violence and violence against women, with a focus on firearms’ influence not only on femicides, but also on different types of violence against women, whether it be physical, sexual or psychological. The seminar emphasised that the presence of a firearm in gender violence should be considered a risk factor – not only because of its lethal potential – but also because it can be used to threaten or suppress victims, making them more vulnerable.
In addition, UNLIREC presented the principal findings and recommendations from their normative study that looked at the necessary link between gender-based violence regulations and small weapon regulations, with special emphasis on South American countries.
To offer a national perspective on the issue, an official from the Ministry of Women shared statistics from Argentina on homicide, femicide and reports of gender violence, broken down by sex of the victim, perpetrator and weapon used. The official also presented information on the number of firearms registered and of legitimate users, which was also broken down by sex. She emphasised the fact that 98% of users of registered weapons are men, which shows that the use of firearms – wrongful or not – is strongly linked to men. She also referenced the common agenda that the National Agency of Controlled Materials (ANMaC) is carrying out in order that arms control, greater awareness and voluntary disarmament help prevent violence against women.
Authorities from ANMaC were at the event, and they talked about the work they carry out in background searches on and disqualifications for arms users who have committed commit acts of gender violence (preventative measures ordered by the the court). Furthermore, in line with their preventative work, they added that they use a workshop, Armed Masculinity, aimed at the general public, public bodies and security forces officers, to help people think about the influence of gender stereotypes and expectations on the use of violence and weapons.
Finally, the seminar underlined the importance of this type of interinstitutional collaboration to ensure that firearms control and disarmament help prevent violence against women.
The webinar formed part of a larger UN project Support for the integration of the gender perspective in policies, programmes and actions in the fight against trafficking and wrongful use of small weapons, in accordance with the women, peace and security agenda, supported by the European Union.
On 12 May 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the London-based student initiative SCRAP Weapons held a webinar on ‘Women Implementing Disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean’. It formed part of the series of webinars that SCRAP Weapons is running from February to the end of May on ‘Feminist Leadership in Disarmament’.
The webinar’s aim was to discuss the role of women in the region in implementing disarmament initiatives by promoting international tools, diplomatic efforts and civil society advocacy. The webinar had a particular focus on issues related to conventional weapons, especially small arms and light weapons, emphasizing their impact on the lives of women and girls.
This issue is relevant to the region given that, according to the Global Study on Homicide from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Latin America and the Caribbean has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, 17.2 per 100,000 population, with firearms involved in more than three quarters of these homicides. Similarly, the region also has a high rate of femicide, accounting for 14 of the 25 countries with the highest femicide rates worldwide.
Two students involved in the SCRAP Weapons initiative chaired talks from women working in Latin America and the Caribbean for disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. In the first talk, UNLIREC presented a historical and contextual overview of the efforts and achievements of women in the region. UNLIREC also discussed the initiatives promoted by the Regional Centre’s work.
Two more talks followed, which focused on the international efforts from women in the region to implement practices, policies, and initiatives for the non-proliferation of conventional weapons. In one of the talks, the president of the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons shared her experiences and thoughts on having written the laws on arms control in her country, Uruguay. The other talk featured the cofounder of the Human Security Network in Latin America and the Caribbean (SEHLAC), which is a network formed of representatives from civil society organizations and experts, with an aim to work for Humanitarian Disarmament.
The virtual event, which was open to the public, was attended by more than 50 people, with a large majority of young students interested in these topics.
This initiative forms part of a series of events that the UNLIREC is carrying out to bring disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control issues to young people’s attention, as well as to highlight and celebrate the contributions of women in the region to these issues.
This initiative was made possible thanks to funding from the Canadian government.
On 5 May 2021, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense of Argentina, UNLIREC held a virtual seminar on “Ammunition Control Measures” for over 47 Argentinian officials from the defense sector, with responsibilities in ammunition control.
The seminar’s objective was to present the findings of UNLIREC’s legal study on small arms ammunition control measures adopted by Latin American and Caribbean States in their legal frameworks, and to promote dialogue among agencies on the needs and priorities in relation to safe and responsible ammunition management. The study focused on the legal norms that Latin American and Caribbean States have enacted vis-à-vis ammunition control and thus, it does not include an analysis of how these provisions are applied in the region.
During the seminar, UNLIREC emphasized the need for the establishment and effective implementation of ammunition control measures, given the impact of the proliferation and diversion of ammunition on armed violence and illicit trafficking throughout the Latin American and Caribbean region.
UNLIREC presented the international instruments and technical guidelines that address ammunition controls and shared some key provisions contained in the legal frameworks of the region with an emphasis on aspects, such as: regulations on ammunition production/manufacturing, international transfer controls of ammunition, security measures in ammunition transportation, ammunition stockpile security measures, ammunition marking and final disposal.
Representatives of the Army and the Military Industry of Argentina (Fabricaciones Militares SE) presented ammunition control measures implemented in the defense sector on stockpile management, ammunition tracing and security measures during transportation and manufacturing, among others.
UNLIREC’s Legal Study: “Ammunition Control Measures in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Legal Approach” is available in Spanish here.
This virtual seminar was part of the “Combatting Illicit Firearms and Ammunition trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean” project and it was possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of Germany.
For more information on UNLIREC, visit www.unlirec.org. Please direct all questions or inquiries to Ms. Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 29 April 2021, UNLIREC hosted a virtual seminar on “Measures for the Control of Ammunition”, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala. The seminar, addressed to over 70 Guatemalan officers in ammunition control, aimed to promote dialogue amongst national agencies on ammunition management, presenting the findings of UNLIREC’s legal study on small arms control measures adopted by Latin American and Caribbean states.
During the seminar, UNLIREC emphasized the need for establishing and implementing effective measures, given the impact of the proliferation of ammunition on armed violence and illicit trafficking throughout the region.
UNLIREC presented the guidelines found in its legal study entitled “Ammunition Control Measures in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Legal Approach” (available at: www.unlirec.org). The presentation addressed ammunition controls and some key provisions with an emphasis on the following aspects:
– competent national authorities that apply ammunition controls
– regulations on ammunition production/manufacturing
– National/international ammunition transfer controls
– consumption reports of ammunition dealers and users
– security measures in ammunition transportation and stockpiling
– ammunition marking, reloading and final disposal
This virtual seminar forms part of UNLIREC’s “Combatting Illicit Firearms and Ammunition Trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean” project financially supported by the Government of Germany.
For more information on UNLIREC, visit www.unlirec.org. Please direct all questions or inquiries to Ms. Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at email@example.com.