From 30-31 October 2023, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) hosted an online National Firearms Tracing and Serial Number Restoration Workshop.

The workshop aimed to provide training for the Haitian National Police in firearms tracing and serial number restoration, essential skills in the fight against illicit firearms.

Participants included officers of various units within the Haitian National Police: The Central Armoury, the Service des permis des armes à feu (SPAF), the Brigade contre la détention illicite d’armes à feu (BDIAF), the Brigade de la police scientifique et technique (BPST), the Brigade de recherche et d’intervention (BRI), and the Groupe d’intervention de la Police Nationale (SWAT/GPIN). Members of the Security and Justice group of the national Task Force on Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) and Community Violence Reduction (CVR), as well as the Chief of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) at the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), Ms. Aimée Thérèse Faye, also attended as observers.

In the Caribbean region, several challenges hinder the ability of states to trace 100% of illicit firearms recovered. These challenges include the age of firearms, ineffective procedures, and the absence of serial numbers on weapons. Obliterating serial numbers on firearms to mask their origin is a common practice for criminals, facilitating both illegal use and illicit trafficking.

UNLIREC recognized the need to address these issues to assist countries in the region in their efforts to trace firearms effectively.

Participants were introduced to the role of firearms examiners in tracing firearms and to the essential platforms and mechanisms for firearms tracing, including iARMS, eTrace, and the CARICOM Crime Gun Intelligence Unit. Moreover, the workshop addressed the practical aspects of serial number restoration, equipping participants with the skills to recover obliterated serial numbers.

This workshop also emphasized the shared commitment to achieving peace and security in the region. This activity is aligned with UNLIREC’s commitment to supporting Haiti in implementing its National Action Plan for the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

UNLIREC, as the regional arm of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, 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. The National Firearms Tracing and Serial Number Restoration Workshop was funded by Germany.