UNLIREC works with Costa Rican authorities in creating national authority responsible for ATT implementation

The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) continues assisting States in the region in the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). On 23 May, UNLIREC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica inaugurated the roundtable on the process towards creating a national control authority for ATT implementation.

This activity targeted 30 national authorities in charge of conventional arms transfer controls from seven different institutions. The main purpose of the two-day roundtable was to provide States with guidelines on the creation of a national control authority responsible for arms transfers in compliance with the provisions found in the Arms Trade Treaty, and provide examples of international standards and models from other States at both the regional and global levels. Moreover, the activity created a space for structured discussion on the essential aspects to be taken into consideration when creating the national authority. Aspects such as composition, functions, functionality and inter-institutional cooperation.

This roundtable and all instruction materials are available to ATT State Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean thanks to the financial support from the Federal Government of Germany. To date, 21 countries in this region have ratified the ATT, which came into force last 24 December 2014: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. It is expected that in the coming months other States in the region will join the group of ratifying States.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org). Please direct all questions or inquiries to Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer (cowl@unlirec.org).

UNLIREC carries out a Caribbean Regional Encounter on Forensic Ballistics in Trinidad and Tobago

From 5-6 December, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) with the support of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM’s Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security carried out a Caribbean Regional Encounter on Forensic Ballistics in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The purpose of the Regional Encounter was to highlight the importance of quality management systems in laboratories, as well as to advance and support the Regional Integrated Ballistics Information Network (RIBIN), and develop formal relationships at the policy/technical levels among Caribbean States.

The event formed part of UNLIREC’s region-wide assistance package on operational forensic ballistics, designed to complement other bilateral, regional and international initiatives’. This package, funded by the governments of Canada and the United States, contemplates collaboration with designated national authorities to undertake forensic ballistics capabilities assessments; provide basic and advanced training for firearms and toolmark examiners; raise awareness among institutional clients of forensic ballistics; provide basic laboratory material; and support the incorporation of written standard operating procedures into existing systems.

Participants at the Regional encounter included Permanent Secretaries, Directors of Civilian Forensic Laboratories, Heads of Police Crime Laboratories, Senior Firearms Examiners and other policy personnel from several states including: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago. Other Institutional Participants included representatives from the ATF, INTERPOL, CARICOM IMPACS and UNLIREC.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ 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.

UNLIREC y Trinidad y Tobago unen esfuerzos para prevenir financiamiento de la proliferación y finalizar el Plan Nacional de Acción para la implementación de 1540

Construyendo sobre la misión previa llevada a cabo en julio, los representantes del Centro Regional de las Naciones Unidas para la Paz, el Desarme y el Desarrollo en América Latina y el Caribe (UNLIREC) regresaron a Trinidad y Tobago en noviembre y diciembre para continuar trabajando con las autoridades del Gobierno en la implementación de una legislación nacional que aborde el financiamiento de las actividades de proliferación de armas de destrucción masiva (ADM).

Los talleres sobre la elaboración de leyes se centraron en la creación de nuevas disposiciones penales para tipificar como delito el financiamiento de la proliferación e introducir nuevas penalidades para tales actividades. Asimismo, se prestó atención a la ampliación de la función, el rol y el alcance de los poderes legislativos requeridos por la Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera de Trinidad y Tobago que permitan la regulación del financiamiento de la proliferación, así como del lavado de dinero y el financiamiento del terrorismo.

Se prestó especial atención a la implementación de las Resoluciones del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas (UNSCR) sobre las sanciones y restricciones específicas para la República Popular Democrática de Corea (RPDC) e Irán, respectivamente. Dadas las fechas de la celebración del taller de diciembre, la publicación de la última resolución de sanciones a la RPDC (UNSCR 2321 [2016]) significó un oportuno recordatorio sobre la preocupación que ocasiona en el clima mundial de seguridad la proliferación de las ADM.

Asimismo, además de los talleres sobre la prevención del financiamiento de la proliferación, UNLIREC aprovechó la oportunidad para proporcionar apoyo en el Plan de Acción Nacional voluntario de Trinidad y Tobago (NAP, por sus siglas en inglés) que articula el plan nacional para la implementación de la Resolución 1540 (2004). Se espera que Trinidad y Tobago presente su Plan de Acción Nacional a inicios del 2017.

UNLIREC carried out pilot competency-based exercises on forensic ballistics in the Bahamas

From 5 to 9 of September, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of the Bahamas, carried out the pilot forensic ballistics collaborative competency testing exercise. These exercises form part of the third round of implementation under the framework of the UNLIREC’s Caribbean Operational Forensic Ballistics Assistance Package, which is made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State and the Government of Canada.

The collaborative exercises are a series of practical and multiple choice questions on the competencies of small arms ammunition examination, examination of firearms and their components and trigger pull and travel examination. The exercises – based on UNLIREC’s standard operating procedures – were developed as a preparatory step for a regional framework of competency testing, at the same time, they can be used as an internal assessment tool for the forensic science institutes and laboratories of the region.

During this process, four police officers from the Scientific Support Services were assessed. These assessments also support the internal identification of existing gaps in competency testing for forensic ballistics.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ 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.

UNLIREC conducts two-day legal drafting work session in support of 1540 implementation

Dominican Republic submitted its voluntary national implementation action plan to the 1540 Committee in November 2015 demonstrating its commitment to the mandate of the UNSCR 1540 (2004) and aiding the country to implement its obligations. Within its action plan, Dominican Republic mapped out a series of specific objectives and activities as well as committed, as one of the country`s priorities, to strengthen its legal framework, including the modernization of WMD legislation.

Accordingly from 29 to 1 October 2015, a team of legal experts from UNLIREC traveled to Santo Domingo to hold a legal drafting session with Dominican counterparts. Upon request, UNLIREC’s legal specialists returned to the Dominican Republic from 5 to 6 April 2016, to follow up on the draft WMD law that was developed during the previous work-session and to provide comments and feedback. UNLIREC’s specialized legal team was joined by a former member of the Group of Experts to the 1540 Committee who provided technical support on the topic.

This work-session, which included 21 (5 female) legal advisors and representations from the various relevant institutions, focused on reviewing the draft WMD law in line with the provisions of Resolution 1540. In this regard, the discussions were focused on ensuring that the text of this document meets the obligations of this international instrument on the nonproliferation of WMD.

As a next step to this process, UNLIREC and the technical experts from Dominican Republic will continue reviewing the draft WMD law. Likewise, UNLIREC will support the country in developing additional subsidiary regulations including a national control list, once the bill of law is finalized.

This draft law constitutes a significant step forward in the country’s efforts to strengthen implementation of UNSCR 1540 (2004) and will provide Dominican Republic with a solid legal basis for adopting trade controls and measures to counter the proliferation of WMD.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org). Please direct all questions or inquiries to Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer (cowl@unlirec.org).

UNLIREC and Government of El Salvador complete final phase of small arms control assistance aimed at private security companies operating in El Salvador

The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the Government of El Salvador carried out several activities in April, aimed at concluding the first phase of the project, entitled:Strengthening Oversight and Building Capacities for Small Arms Control and Nonproliferation in the Private Security Sector, which they have been implementing in the country since July 2015.

During the month of April 2016, the secondary marking of small arms belonging to private security companies that participate in the project continued. Since 2013, the government of El Salvador has a regulation on secondary marking – – taking place after the initial marking phase, which occurs at the time of manufacture– – in line with international agreements on combating the illicit trafficking of small arms signed by the government. The secondary marking helps to track firearms until they reach their final legal user and improve the weapons inventory management of the companies. During the first phase of the project, UNLIREC has facilitated the marking of more than 500 firearms belonging to thirteen security companies.

Furthermore, UNLIREC and the government of El Salvador carried out an event that recounted the results obtained during the first phase of the project. Among the results the training on firearms and ammunition warehouses management of more than 20 private security companies, and the technical advice on stockpile management and physical security measures of five companies stand out. All of these activities are in line with the UN International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) and the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG).

During this event, UNLIREC distributed material for the weapons rooms of all private security companies involved in the project. UNLIREC donated devices commonly known as bullet-traps, which consist of metallic cylinders where individuals receiving or handing over weapons can ensure that the firearms has been made safe by placing it inside the bullet trap which absorbs and contains an errant round of ammunition. . In addition, the companies received warning stickers of dangerous materials according to the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Orange Book). These stickers must be placed in the vicinity where ammunition is stored.

This project, which provides technical assistance to both the national authorities in charge of regulating the private security sector nationwide, and the companies that provide security services, is implemented in collaboration with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) with the financial support of the Federal Republic of Germany. The project`s main goal is to promote small arms and ammunition control standards, good practices and initiatives of global recognition, and good governance in the private security sector.

Through this assistance package, UNLIREC supports Latin American and Caribbean States strengthen public security and the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (UN 2001 PoA).

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org). Please direct all questions or inquiries to Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer (cowl@unlirec.org).