From 14 to 15 November 2023, officials from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Dominican Republic will gather in Saint Lucia for the 3rd Annual Meeting of States of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.
For the first time since the adoption of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap in 2020, States, together with partners and donors from the international community, will meet in-person to discuss the implementation of the Roadmap and renew their commitment addressing illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking.
The meeting is organized by the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) in collaboration with the government of Saint Lucia.
The meeting, which is funded by Canada, envisages a one-day working level exchange between national focal points established under the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap as well as a high-level meeting of Ministers on 15 November.
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Resolution 1540 (2004) was adopted on 28 April 2004 by the United Nations Security Council against a backdrop of growing concern by the international community regarding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by non-state actors, and the threat posed to international peace and security.
With this in mind, resolution 1540 (2004) establishes a series of obligations for States to address this challenge and prevent the proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery, and the illicit trafficking of related materials, by non-state actors, including terrorist organisations.
UNLIREC reiterates the importance of resolution 1540 (2004), and its full and effective implementation by all States. Furthermore, UNLIREC encourages the active participation of the private sector, scientific community and academia to join in these efforts.
What are the main obligations contained in resolution 1540 (2004)?
Resolution 1540 (2004) mandates States to refrain from providing support to non-state actors in the development, acquisition, manufacture, possession (etc.) of WMDs and their means of delivery. In order for resolution 1540 to be effectively implemented, States must also ensure that their legal frameworks prohibit the aforementioned activities.
In addition to this, States must establish national controls on related materials and dual-use goods, which are items that have legitimate and peaceful uses but which can also be used to develop WMD.
It is important that the private sector, scientific community and academia be aware of the risks involved in the trade and use of dual-use goods, and the importance of adequate controls.
Learn more about dual-use goods
Why is resolution 1540 important for Latin American and Caribbean States?
Resolution 1540 (2004) complements and reinforces existing treaties on disarmament and non-proliferation of WMDs, such as: the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco).
Moreover, this is the first time that the Security Council defined the proliferation of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as a threat to international peace and security, in particular the risk posed by non-state actors acquiring such weapons.
No State is immune to the risk posed by the use or threat of use of WMD, or potential criminal activities by non-State actors, including terrorist organizations.
It is also important to note that countries in the region have industries that produce, assemble, export, import, transport and use dual-use materials. States are therefore responsible for ensuring that said goods and technologies are not diverted for the development of WMDs. It is important that States actively participate and cooperate in the international community’s non-proliferation initiatives.
What is the work of the 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts?
The 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts monitor the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). They facilitate cooperation and technical assistance towards its effective implementation.
What role do regional and sub-regional international organisations play in the implementation of the resolution?
International, regional and subregional organizations play a fundamental role in the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).
UNLIREC, as a United Nations regional centre specialized in disarmament and non-proliferation in Latin America and the Caribbean, supports national and regional efforts aimed at the effective implementation of this resolution and, therefore, the prevention of the proliferation of WMDs in the region.
The Arms Trade Treaty aims to regulate the international trade in conventional arms, as well as to prevent and eliminate their illicit trafficking and diversion.
The Treaty was adopted on 2 April 2013 and entered into force on 24 December 2014.
UNLIREC is launching this campaign to promote its universalization and highlight the importance of its effective implementation by all States Parties.
What are the main provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty?
The ATT establishes prohibitions on the transfer of arms, ammunition, parts and components when there is a possibility that they may be used to commit acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, attacks against civilian objects or persons, or other war crimes, among others.
In addition, States must evaluate each export and determine whether there is a risk that the arms, ammunition, parts and components could be used to commit serious violations of International Humanitarian Law or Human Rights, acts of terrorism, organized crime, or serious acts of gender-based violence or violence against women and children, and if so, deny such export.
Why is this Treaty important?
It is estimated that the financial value of the global arms trade in 2020 was at least $112 billion, and according to UN Comtrade data compiled by the Small Arms Survey, 85% of global transfers were of small arms, which are used to commit the majority of homicides. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the percentage of homicides committed with small arms is estimated at 61% in Central America, 54% in the Caribbean and 57% in South America. The Arms Trade Treaty promotes the responsibility of States in international transfers of conventional arms, establishing prohibitions on transfers of these weapons in certain cases, as well as the obligation to conduct a risk assessment of each export.
According to the Arms Trade Treaty, what are international transfers?
International transfers are export, import, transit, transshipment and intermediation, for which States must adopt control measures.
Do the provisions contained in the ATT only apply to manufacturing countries?
No. The Arms Trade Treaty provides for the obligation to establish appropriate measures to regulate international arms transfers, and therefore reaches all States involved in such transfers. Each exporting State must evaluate each export operation, including re-exports of items not manufactured in the country.
What is the ATT Voluntary Trust Fund (VTF)?
Every year, States Parties may apply to the Voluntary Fund to obtain financial support for the implementation of the Treaty.
For the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence UNLIREC joins the 2022 United Nations Campaign: “UNiTE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls”
Every year, from 25 November – International Day to End Violence against Women – to 10 December – International Human Rights Day – the United Nations Secretary-General leads the UNiTE! 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls Campaign.
This years’ campaign UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls will aim to mobilize all society to become activists for the prevention of violence against women, to stand in solidarity with women’s rights activists and to support feminist movements around the world to resist the rollback on women’s rights and calling for a world free from VAWG.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world. It encompasses any act of violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering, as well as threats, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether in the public or private sphere.
UNLIREC reflects on the impact of firearms on gender-based violence against women and girls, as well as the importance of arms control as a building block to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence.
Why do we need to reflect on firearms and violence against women?
States are tasked to control and regulate firearms to prevent their use and misuse to commit homicide, making it a unique entry point for prevention.
What type of information is available on the use of firearms in femicides?
Although in the last decade States have made great strides to identify and define femicides to make it visible, also for statistical purposes, there are still few countries which collect disaggregated information on means used to carry out violence. Nor is data collected on the legal status of the weapons involved, the firearms license of the perpetrator, or whether the person has access to weapons as part of its profession in armed/security forces or private security companies.
Key questions to pose in cases of femicides committed with firearms
Was the firearm legal? Was the perpetrator a legal user? Did he have a valid license? Is he a member of the Armed Forces or the Police? Was he a armed private security guard? Were there reports of gender-based violence prior to the femicide? Was the existence of the firearm in possession of the perpetrator included in the reports? Were protection measures taken -such as firearms seizures or revocation of the firearms license?
What are the impacts of firearms on gender-based violence beyond femicides?
Just the presence of a firearms at home in the hands of the perpetrator increases the risk of armed violence, resulting in a constant threat to the victim.
Firearms can be used to threaten and intimidate even if they are not fired, leading to sexual, physical and psychological violence.
In addition to femicides, firearms can cause lifelong injuries, motor disabilities, physical and psychological trauma.
How can arms control be linked to measures to prevent gender-based violence against women and girls (GBV) ?
Include protocols for registering the presence of firearms in the home in complaint handling and risk assessment procedures and whether these are used to violate the complainants.
Incorporate relevant information into complaint records, such as number and types of firearms in the home; presence and quantities of ammunition and firearms components; permit to carry or possess firearms; if firearm is used for professional duty (e.g., police, military, private security guards).
Share information with authorities responsible for:
suspending or revoking firearms licenses;
disabling applications for permits to carry and possess firearms;
seizing or confiscating firearms and their ammunition.
Include guidelines for actions against aggressors who possess firearms for professional duty, as those firearms belong to respective institutions or companies.
Ensure efficient coordination between authorities providing services to victims and survivors of violence and standardize the procedures implemented by the staff of each institution to collect and record firearms related information.
Consider denial of a firearm license because a history of gender-based violence as well as an official assessment profiling the person´s risk of violent behavior by a competent authority.
UNLIREC encourages States to strengthen arms control as a building block to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence against women and girls. This involves:
Compilation of disaggregated and comprehensive data on firearms-related cases of violence against women.
Linking normative frameworks on firearms control and regulation with those preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls.
Training of public servants on the linkages and impacts of firearms on gender-based violence.
Establishment of cooperation channels between State agencies with competencies in firearms control and care for victims of GBV.
For more information check our activities and publications on this topic here. These are just a few initiatives and reflections to promote the debate. You can also be part of the change! UNiTE the Campaign, follow us on our social networks and share your ideas.
The regional study provides a general overview of the progress made by States in the region in adopting national legal frameworks and practical methods to fulfil their international commitments against the proliferation of biological and toxin weapons, in particular the Biological Weapons Convention and UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004).
Based on the statistical data published in December 2020 by the 1540 Committee of the Security Council, the study presents a quantitative analysis of the legal and practical measures adopted by the 33 States in Latin American and the Caribbean and shares some considerations on possible measures to strengthen the non-proliferation of biological and toxin weapons at the regional level.