On 14 July, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) delivered a webinar on addressing firearms possession and use in Latin American schools. UNLIREC’s recent study on the matter was presented during the one-day on-line seminar. This study included a series of initiatives and measures that have been implemented in some countries of the region, along with various recommendations to strengthen the responses to this phenomenon.

This webinar involved the participation of a representative from the Ministry of Public Education of Costa Rica and a specialist in citizen security issues from Peru. Both provided their national perspectives vis-à-vis the firearms phenomenon in school and the challenges this represents.

This webinar was open to the public and involved the participation of more than 120 people, including representatives of the sectors of education, security, interior, defense, foreign affairs, as well as United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, specialists and public interested in this topic.

Considering that incidents involving the presence and use of firearms in schools across the region have been increasingly recurring over the past few decades, there was broad agreement on the need to pay greater attention to this phenomenon, as well as to have specific responses and tools to guarantee a comprehensive and articulated approach. Above and beyond its most visible impacts (injuries and deaths), firearms in schools represent a serious obstacle to guaranteeing safe and violence-free learning spaces for boys, girls, adolescents and young people in the region.

This activity, made possible thanks to the funding provided by the Government of Sweden, forms part of a series of virtual forums that UNLIREC will be organizing with the aim of facilitating dialogue concerning this lamentable and growing phenomenon.