UNLIREC conducted a web seminar in the Dominican Republic on the importance of arms control in the prevention of violence against women

UNLIREC conducted a web seminar in the Dominican Republic on the importance of arms control in the prevention of violence against women

On April 12, UNLIREC,  together with the Ministry of Women of the Dominican Republic, held a virtual seminar on “Measures to prevent armed violence against women” in which more than 90 people from different sectors of government and civil society participated.  

One of the main purposes of the event was to warn about the contribution of firearms control in the prevention of violence against women, taking into account that the region presents alarming figures of intentional gender-based homicides of women and girls. In 2019 there were 4,615 femicides in 18 countries in the region, representing 12 of these crimes per day. The Dominican Republic has 1 of the 5 highest femicide rates in the region (2.4 for every 100,000 women).

In this regard, emphasis was made on the challenges involved in measuring femicide, especially in countries where it is has not yet been criminalized in the penal code. The importance of measuring the use of firearms in psychological, physical and sexual violence against women, which can be collected at the time of reporting these acts, was also highlighted.

The webinar also served to share the main findings and recommendations of UNLIREC’s Normative Study: Making the link between norms on violence against women and small arms control and regulation norms. The importance of contemplating the suspension and revocation of firearms licences in cases of gender-based violence, as well as the seizure and confiscation of these weapons, since they represent a danger to women, were also noted. Likewise, it was highlighted how important it is to analyze the suitability of the applicant for a firearms license, not only based on the absence of a criminal record, but also on a risk profile of the candidate.

The Dominican Republic provided statistics on femicides and homicides committed against women in the country, results of the National Household Survey, the registry of complaints of violence against women, as well as the results of various studies of national scope that point to the prevalence of gender stereotypes and mandates that reproduce violence against women.

In this context, the Ministry of Women has presented the Strategic Plan “For a Life Free of Violence toward Women, Adolescents and Girls” which includes different strategic axes – prevention, care, punishment, reparation, legal framework and coordination – as well as the formation of an intersectoral cabinet chaired by the Ministry of Women and composed of different Ministries and state agencies: Interior, Defence, Health, Education, Youth, Labour, Economy, National Police, Attorney General’s Office, National Statistics Office.

In addition to the intersectoral approach, the inclusion of representatives of civil society organizations and universities is noteworthy.

The event concluded with the participation of the audience, who were interested in how to transfer this work at the educational level, especially in schools, work at the local level, legal assistance to women victims of violence, and on the next steps to follow.  

The activity was made possible thanks to the support of the European Union within the framework of the project “Supporting gender mainstreamed policies, programmes and actions in the fight against small arms trafficking and misuse, in line with the Women, Peace and Security agenda”.

UNLIREC held a webinar for Peruvian institutions on the importance of gun control in the prevention of violence against women

UNLIREC held a webinar for Peruvian institutions on the importance of gun control in the prevention of violence against women

On Tuesday 1 March 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Directorate of Security and Defence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru, held the webinar “Measures to prevent armed violence against women”.


There were 523 participants (62% women) from different public agencies with competencies in the subject matter: Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, Ministry of the Interior, National Superintendence for the Control of Security Services, Arms, Ammunition and Explosives for Civilian Use (SUCAMEC), National Civil Police, Ministry of Defence, Public Prosecutor’s Office, among others.


The seminar began with a contextualization of the convergence of the Arms Control agenda with the Women, Peace and Security agenda – promoted by UN Security Council Resolution 1325 – and the importance of analysing the impacts of armed violence from a gender perspective in order to understand the effects on men and women. At this point, emphasis was placed on the incidence of firearms not only in femicides, but also on the different types of violence against women, whether physical, sexual and/or psychological.


It was emphasized that the presence of a firearm in a context of gender violence should be considered a risk factor, not only because of its lethality, but also because of its use to threaten and subdue the victims, increasing their vulnerability.


UNLIREC also presented the main findings of the Normative Study on Peru, which addresses the necessary linkage between gender-based violence regulations and small arms regulation and control standards. Good practices from other countries in the region and some recommendations for consideration at the national level were also shared.


The seminar included a presentation by an official from SUCAMEC, who provided a national perspective on the subject. Official statistics on firearms licenses by sex, the conditions for obtaining or renewing a firearms license, including the absence of family violence sentences, and SUCAMEC’s contribution to the enforcement of Law 30364 “Law to prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women and members of the family group” were shared. This, through the denial of gun permits of persons under protection measures issued by the justice system, as well as the denial of gun permits of aggressors, included in the Single Registry of Victims and Aggressors (RUVA) under the Public Prosecutor’s Office.


The seminar also joined the efforts of the “Valentine’s Day Gun Free” campaign led by the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA). The campaign was carried out from February 14 to March 8. Under the slogan “Guns do not belong in relationships”, the campaign seeks to raise awareness of the risks of having a gun in the home, violence committed by intimate partners, and the need to promote more effective gun control laws to prevent violence against women, in this case, domestic or intra-family violence.


This webinar was made possible thanks to the support of the European Union through the global project: Support for gender mainstreaming in policies, programs and actions in the fight against trafficking and misuse of small arms, in line with the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

UNLIREC organizes a virtual event on measures to prevent armed violence against women in Haiti

UNLIREC organizes a virtual event on measures to prevent armed violence against women in Haiti

On 15 December 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Ministry on Women’s Condition and Women’s Rights in Haiti and with the support of the United Nations Development Programme in Haiti, held a national virtual seminar on “Measures to Prevent Armed Violence against Women”. 

The main objectives of the webinar were to present the issue of armed violence and violence against women, the links between the two and their impacts on society; sensitize about the importance of linking the legal framework on firearms and ammunition control with the prevention of violence against women, as well as promoting an inter-institutional and collaborative approach to address and prevent gender-based armed violence against women.

In her opening remarks, the Minister on Women’s Condition and Women’s Rights emphasized the fact that the issue of armed violence against women was a priority for the Government as girls and women were particularly affected by violence perpetrated by criminal groups.

The first presentation, given by UNLIREC, made visible the differentiated impact of firearms on men and women, at the global, regional and national levels. It also emphasized the incidence of firearms on the different types of gender-based violence, including femicides. The presentation pointed to the presence of a firearm as a risk factor not only because it can be lethal but also because it is an element that can be used to threaten and coerce victims, therefore increasing their vulnerability.

UNLIREC’s second and last presentation for this activity focused on the findings of the Legal Study on the Making the link between norms on violence against women and small arms control and regulation norms: analysis of Haiti which analyzes Haiti’s norms in both thematic areas. During the seminar, references were made to good practices that were found in different countries’ legal framework in the region. A special emphasis was made on the importance of including and defining the crime of femicide in the national legal framework, as well as several types of measures to prevent and protect women from being victims of violence committed with firearms. The presentation also referred to the possibility of conducting a risk analysis from the very moment a person requests to possess a firearm as a prevention measure.

The virtual event was open to government officials, civil society organizations, including women and youth organizations, academia and international and regional cooperation agencies and programs. 59 people, including a large majority of 40 women, attended the event. The audience included government officials and mostly civil society organizations and agencies and programs of the United Nations System in Haiti.

This initiative is part of a series of activities that UNLIREC carried out to strengthen national capacities to develop and implement gender-sensitive approaches to issues related to the reduction of armed violence. This initiative was possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Symposium: Forces for Change 2021. Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control in Latin America and the Caribbean

Symposium: Forces for Change 2021. Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control in Latin America and the Caribbean

On 8 December 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) held the Symposium ‘Female Forces for Change’ to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the General Assembly Resolution 65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, which urges State Parties, regional and sub-regional organisations, the United Nations, its agencies and programmes, to promote the equal representation of women in all decision-making processes related to these issues.

The Symposium’s objective was to raise awareness and celebrate the contribution of women in the region. Eight women from different countries and diverse backgrounds in the field shared their experiences in line with the four pillars of the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament “Securing our common future”.

Pillar 1, ‘Disarmament to save humanity’, which advocates to reduce and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, featured María Antonieta Jáquez (Mexico), Political Coordinator of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations, and Soledad Urruela Arenales (Guatemala), Programme Manager and Regional Coordinator for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540.

Pillar 2 “Disarmament to save lives”, which calls for reducing and mitigating the impact of conventional weapons, was represented by two government officials with responsibilities in the control and regulation of small arms and light weapons. They are María del Pilar Noriega López (Peru), General Manager of the National Superintendence for the Control of Security Services, Arms, Ammunition and Explosives for Civilian Use (SUCAMEC) and Samantha Allen (Jamaica), Executive Director, Safety, Security and Small Arms Unit, Ministry of National Security.

Pillar 3 “Disarmament to save future generations”, which calls for vigilance regarding new and emerging weapons technologies, featured María Pía Devoto (Argentina), Coordinator of the Human Security Network of Latin America and the Caribbean (SEHLAC) and member of the Stop Killer Robots Campaign, and Hazel Villalobos (Costa Rica), Technical Manager and Researcher at the Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNDAPEM).

Finally, Pillar 4, “Strengthening Partnerships for Disarmament”, is a call to revitalise disarmament institutions and partner with governments, civil society, women and youth. It was represented by Carolina de Mattos Ricardo (Brazil), Executive Director of Sou da Paz and Delia Chatoor (Trinidad and Tobago), an expert in International Humanitarian Law, former diplomat and former Vice President of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society.

In addition to celebrating the contribution of these women, the event served as a platform to officially launch the audio visual material produced by UNLIREC to support the dissemination of the important progress achieved by women in the region in the four Pillars that make up the Disarmament Agenda.  Eighty three persons from across the region attended the Symposium, with 80% of the audience being women.

The event was part of the Project “Advancing Regional Implementation of UN General Assembly Resolution 65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control”, funded by the Government of Canada.

Regional Meeting “20 years after the adoption of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA): progress and challenges in the inclusion of gender considerations”

Regional Meeting “20 years after the adoption of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA): progress and challenges in the inclusion of gender considerations”

On 6 December 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) held a technical meeting that brought together officials from different governmental sectors and countries of the region, with the purpose of analysing the progress and challenges related to the inclusion of gender considerations recommended in the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (hereinafter PoA).  

Thirty-seven officials participated in the meeting from Ministries of Foreign Affairs; PoA Coordination Mechanisms; Firearms Control and Regulation Agencies; Criminal Statistics Offices; and Bodies with a mandate in gender and women’s equality.

UNLIREC provided an introduction on the implications of the PoA, highlighting when gender considerations were included, namely at the Sixth and Seventh Biennial Meeting of States (BMS6, 2016 and BMS7, 2021) and at the Third Review Conference (RevCon3, 2018). Among the various commitments, the following highlights those that were addressed:

  • Consider the different effects of illicit small arms and light weapons (hereinafter SALW) on women, men, young girls and boys in policies and programmes aiming to combat illicit trafficking of these weapons, and encourage the collection of disaggregated data on gender and the illicit trade in SALW.
  • Ensure coordination between national authorities responsible for executing the PoA and the relevant ministries or other national authorities with a mandate on gender equality, as well as women’s CSOs.
  • Share national experiences, lessons learned and best practices on mainstreaming gender aspects in politics and programmes aimed at combatting illicit SALW trafficking, and to voluntarily provide information and communicate gender-relevant initiatives as part of the national PoA and ITI implementation reports; among others.

While States have made considerable progress in recognising the above-mentioned issues, an analysis of the National Reports reveals difficulties in the local implementation of these commitments. It is due to this that, to encourage debate and exchange national best practices, three countries with initiatives that contribute to the gender commitments of the PoA were called upon to participate.

These experiences included Guatemala’s National Commission for the Prevention of Armed Violence, which proposes an expanded approach to the Commission’s composition and allows for the inclusion of non-traditional sectors. On the other hand, regarding the collection of SALW data disaggregated by gender, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) of Mexico presented on the inclusion of the category “firearm” in the National Survey on the Dynamics of Household Relationships (ENDIREH). The National Registry of Femicides of Argentina also presented the findings of a recent study they are conducting in cooperation with the National Agency of Controlled Materials (ANMaC) regarding the highest possible disaggregation of firearms involved in femicides (authorised/unauthorised firearms; regulation firearms-FFSS). Likewise, ANMaC delivered a presentation onvarious initiatives with a gender perspective, among which the following stand out: gender training for security forces and shooting instructors; cooperation with the justice system to establish registration obstacles and disqualifications for persons accused of gender-based violence, among other initiatives. 

We at UNLIREC hope that the meeting has contributed to the integration of gender considerations in the implementation of national policies and actions for firearms control, armed violence prevention and combating illicit trafficking of SALW.

This activity took place within the framework of UNLIREC’s Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Programme, funded by the European Union and Canada, and was part of the International Campaign #16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December).