Public officials and civil society from Jamaica participate in seminar to defy violence in schools

Public officials and civil society from Jamaica participate in seminar to defy violence in schools

UNLIREC, in collaboration with UNESCO, conducts webinar ‘Violence in schools: challenges and responses’


On 25 May 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, carried out a webinar on ‘Violence in Schools: Challenges and Responses’ for Jamaican audience. Twenty-four participants, including 18 women, from Ministry of Education and Youth, University of West Indies, Jamaican Constabulary Force, Ministry of National Security, Civil Society Organizations, UNESCO, UNICEF, and Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency of Jamaica actively participated in the webinar.


Over the past few decades, media reports of incidents involving firearms in schools have been increasingly recurring in many countries of the region. These incidents which include both the presence and use of firearms inside schools have led to injuries and fatalities as a result of intentional and accidental gunshots. This phenomenon poses enormous challenges in ensuring safe learning spaces for children and adolescents in the region.


Against this backdrop, the webinar included a presentation from UNESCO on the impacts of violence in the region and highlighted responses that can be adopted to combat violence in schools. Meanwhile, UNLIREC presented its study on ‘Firearms in Latin America and Caribbean Schools- Approaches, Challenges and Responses’. With a focus on the Caribbean, UNLIREC presented a regional overview of armed violence in schools and shared different responses being implemented in the region to tackle the presence and use of firearms in schools.


The webinar also included an engaging panel discussion on prevalent forms of violence in schools in Jamaica and school-based intervention programmes being implemented to combat such violence. The panelists included a representative from the Ministry of Education and Youth, a professor from University of West Indies and a youth leader from Bully Proof Kids (NGO). Through this webinar, UNLIREC facilitated a national dialogue by providing an opportunity for the participants to ask questions and share experiences on violence in schools in Jamaica.

This webinar forms part of the Salient Fund project aimed at reducing violence and proliferation of illicit firearms in Jamaica.

Webinar on Firearms Prevention in Schools in El Salvador

Webinar on Firearms Prevention in Schools in El Salvador

As part of the cycle of activities that UNLIREC has been carrying out between 2020 and 2021 to encourage conversation regionally and nationally about the phenomenon of firearms in schools, a webinar on ‘Firearms Prevention in Schools’ was held on the 16 December in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in El Salvador.

In this virtual event, UNLIREC shared the main findings of a study on Firearms in Schools in Latin America and the Caribbean: approaches, challenges and responses, presenting a regional overview of the main characteristics and developments of this phenomenon in recent years in the countries of the region, as well as sharing a series of initiatives and measures that have been implemented in some countries in the region to tackle and prevent the presence and use of firearms in schools.

To provide a national perspective on this phenomenon in El Salvador, the Ministry of Education gave a presentation in which many topics were highlighted, including the different types of risks to which schools are exposed, the current legal framework that prohibits carrying and bringing arms to schools, as well as the different measures and actions aimed at guaranteeing safe learning spaces which are free from violence.

As part of these measures, campaigns aimed at educational communities on issues of coexistence, continuous training for teachers, as well as inter-institutional coordination with the National Civil Police and other institutions to promote actions aimed at preventing the use of weapons in educational centres were highlighted.

This webinar was attended by around 175 participants, including staff from the Ministry of Education (such as educational and pedagogical advisors, coordinators, technicians, teachers, among others), as well as staff from the prevention areas of the National Civil Police.

This webinar was made possible thanks to the valuable financial contribution of the Government of Sweden.

UNLIREC and ANMAC hold National Dialogue on the prevention of gun violence in schools

UNLIREC and ANMAC hold National Dialogue on the prevention of gun violence in schools

On the 9 November, UNLIREC and the National Agency for Controlled Materials (ANMaC) of Argentina held a national dialogue on the prevention of firearms prevention in schools. The main objectives of this virtual event were to share the principal findings of the regional study conducted by UNLIREC on firearms in schools, as well as to promote the intersectorall dialogue regarding impacts, challenges and routes for action to prevent the presence and use of arms in schools.

As part of the agenda of this meeting, UNLIREC shared the main findings from the study Firearms in Schools in Latin America and the Caribbean: approaches, challenges and answers. In this vein, UNLIREC presented the regional overview of the main characteristics of this phenomenon in recent years in the countries of the region, as well as sharing a series of initiatives and measures that have been implemented in some countries in the region to address and prevent the presence and use of firearms in schools.

ANMaC held a presentation in which they highlighted the specific policies developed by the Agency in this area in recent years, highlighting the different actions that were implemented to raise awareness in educational communities about the risks and impacts of the proliferation and misuse of firearms. Of these activities, the workshops “Beliefs that kill” and “Disarming Masculinities” aimed at students from secondary schools from different provinces in Argentina were highlighted.

This national perspective was complemented by a presentation led by the Alfredo Marcenac Civil Association from the Argentinian Network for Disarmament, which highlighted some underlying cultural elements in societies that influence the phenomenon in question, such as the symbolic value assigned to weapons as mechanisms for conflict resolution. During this intervention the experience developed in the framework of the Educational Programme for Disarmament Awareness and Peacebuilding aimed at educational institutions at different levels in the Province of Buenos Aires was also shared.

This virtual meeting was possible thanks to the generous financial contribution from the Government of Switzerland.

UNLIREC, Panama and Sweden join forces to understand and prevent Firearms Violence in Schools

UNLIREC, Panama and Sweden join forces to understand and prevent Firearms Violence in Schools

In recent years, the proliferation of firearms has had repercussions in all parts of society including educational centres in the Latin American and Caribbean region. The readily available arms facilitate students ability to carry firearms to schools, increasing the risk that firearms are present in fights and arguments or used to threaten or cause intentional and accidental shootings leading to injuries and fatalities.

On 9 November 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama and the Government of Sweden held the Webinar entitled “Firearms in Schools” to explore this phenomenon and its impact on school safety.

During the event, UNLIREC presented the most relevant findings of its study Firearms in Schools in Latin America and the Caribbean: Approaches, Challenges and Responses. The presentation included an overview of the main characteristics of this phenomenon in recent years in the countries of the region. It also outlined a series of initiatives and measures that have been implemented throughout the region, to address and prevent the presence and use of firearms in schools. UNLIREC also shared a series of recommendations aimed at strengthening responses to this phenomenon and limit its violent impact.

The Panamanian National Police presented the national legal framework, procedures and specific programmes developed to address and prevent violence in schools, including the entry of weapons onto the school grounds.

This webinar was attended by representatives from the educational, security sectors, specialists on children and adolescents and, social development matters, foreign affairs representatives as well as, civil society organisations specialized in these topics. Taking into account the multidimensionality that characterises this phenomenon participants agreed on the importance of strengthening inter-institutional coordination to ensure comprehensive approaches and, above all, to promote actions aimed at preventing armed violence against youth.

This webinar was made possible thanks to the valuable financial contribution of the government of Sweden.  

UNLIREC conducts webinar on “Initiatives to address and prevent the presence of firearms in schools”, in Peru

On 23 October, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education of Peru, conducted a webinar on “Initiatives to address and prevent the presence and use of firearms in schools”.

This event was held over two days, with close to 300 participants. The vast majority were specialists in school coexistence from the Local Education Management Unit (UGEL) from different regions and departments in Peru, school psychologists, officials and technical staff from the Ministry of Education, as well as various representatives from the National Superintendence of Control of Security Services, Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives for Civilian Use (SUCAMEC), the Ministry of Interior and the National Police.

As part of the online event, UNLIREC shared the most relevant findings from its recent study on ‘Firearms in Latin American and Caribbean Schools: Approaches, Challenges and Responses’. This regional study, in addition to analyzing the main manifestations of this phenomenon, also compiled a series of responses and measures that are being implemented in some countries of the region to address this phenomenon. Some examples include regulatory frameworks prohibiting the presence and use of firearms in schools, safe storage measures, registration and information systems, action guides and protocols, awareness-raising and education campaigns, among others. UNLIREC also shared some policy recommendations to ensure a comprehensive approach to the presence and use of firearms in schools. As part of the recommendations included in the study, UNLIREC indicated that it is essential to consider the role of young people as agents of change and involve them, their families and communities, in designing and implementing armed violence prevention strategies.

With respect to Peru, in particular, participants indicated that although few cases have been recorded in recent years, the educational community and wider society are unaware of the scale and severity of this phenomenon. In this sense, the importance of having diagnostics and information systems to report and record cases of this nature was highlighted. Regarding these types of measures, it is important to point out that Peru has a Specialized System for Attending to Cases of School Violence (SiSeVe), which allows anyone who has been a victim or witness of school violence to make a complaint on the platform. It also considers incidents with firearms. This tool is fundamental for designing a comprehensive response to address and prevent episodes with firearms in schools.

In addition, participants indicated that it is important to move forward with the development of orientation guides and protocols to address potential episodes of the presence and use of firearms in schools. The need to strengthen coordinated and sectoral work among different institutions (education, security, childhood, arms control, among others) to prevent the presence and use of firearms in Peruvian schools was also stressed.

This space for dialogue was made possible thanks to the valuable financial contribution of the Government of Sweden.