Symposium – Forces of Change 2021 | Women, Disarmament, Non Proliferation and Arms Control in Latin America and the Caribbean

Symposium – Forces of Change 2021 | Women, Disarmament, Non Proliferation and Arms Control in Latin America and the Caribbean

The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) will celebrate the 11th anniversary of UN General Assembly Resolution 65/69 “Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control” with a Symposium that will bring together women from Latin America and the Caribbean who have contributed to important advances in the four pillars of the UN Disarmament Agenda (2018):

 

  • Pillar 1: Disarmament to save humanity. Reduce and eliminate weapons of mass destruction.
  • Pillar 2: Disarmament that save lives. Reduce and mitigate the impact of conventional weapons.
  • Pillar 3: Disarmament for future generations. Remain vigilant regarding new and emerging weapon technologies.
  • Pillar 4: Strengthening partnerships for disarmament. Reinvigorate disarmament institutions and partner with Governments, experts, civil society, women and youth.
UNLIREC conducted training on gender perspective in the investigation of crimes involving firearms aimed at Mexican officials

UNLIREC conducted training on gender perspective in the investigation of crimes involving firearms aimed at Mexican officials

From 30 August to 10 September 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in cooperation with the National Institute of Women and the Secretariat of International Relations of Mexico, carried out the Specialised Course on Gender Perspective in the Investigation of Crimes involving Firearms (CEGAF).

Thanks to the collaboration of the Attorney General’s Office, it was possible to summon more than 40 prosecutors, prosecutors, criminal experts and investigative police from the Attorney General’s Offices of 28 States of Mexico (units specialized in femicide, gender-based crimes, criminalistics and expert services) to attend the meeting.

The CEGAF course, in addition to helping sensitize participants about the importance of gender perspective in crimes committed with firearms, also strengthens the technical knowledge applicable to the scientific method of criminal investigation, as well as interinstitutional cooperation in these areas.

The federal composition of the group’s members made it possible to exchange different realities and challenges they face. Emphasis was also placed on the need to strengthen the coordination and cooperation of the participating personnel in order to optimize their individual and collective efforts to deal with crimes related to violence against women (VAW) and firearms.

The course was developed virtually and distributed in six interactive meetings, in which the participants were able to contribute their experiences and speak with UNLIREC instructors. The theoretical and technical aspects of criminal investigations were addressed and the way in which the gender perspective – as a method of analysis – contributes to the formulation of stereotype-free conclusions, supported by objective technical or scientific studies based on the appropriate theory. Case studies were also used throughout the training to raise awareness of the absence of a gender perspective and the violation of rights that it causes in the victims and their families.

During the training, emphasis was placed on the use of firearms to commit different types of VAW, that is, not only when it is involved as a murder weapon, but also when it is used as an instrument to threaten, intimidate and coerce. The importance of the correct handling of the crime scene and of firearms and ammunition as physical evidence in the investigation with a gender perspective of crimes against women was highlighted. Finally, good practices were shared and participants were urged to strengthen the articulation and cooperation between all the actors involved in the different stages of the judicial investigation in order to optimize their individual and collective efforts to deal with crimes related to firearms with special attention to cases of gender-based violence, thus helping to reduce the levels of impunity and strengthen the capacities of the institutions of the justice and security sectors.

This activity forms part of the project entitled “Support for the integration of the gender perspective in policies, programs and actions in the fight against trafficking and misuse of small arms” funded by the European Union.

UNLIREC trains Guatemalan police and justice staff in firearms investigation from the gender perspective

UNLIREC trains Guatemalan police and justice staff in firearms investigation from the gender perspective

From 12-23 July 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivered a Specialised course on firearms investigations from a gender perspective (FIGP) to close to 30 officials.

Thanks to the cooperation of the Ministry of the Interior, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Judicial Studies School, an interinstitutional group was formed, consisting of officials from the women’s office and the office against femicide; judges from the femicide court, violence against women, and sexual violence; investigators from the National Police, specifically from the femicide department, Department for Crimes against Life, and the division specialising in criminal investigation.

The course, as well as helping to sensitize participants on the importance of incorporating a gender perspective into tackling crimes committed with firearms, strengthens the technical knowledge of the scientific method of criminal investigation and interinstitutional cooperation in these fields.

The diverse nature of the group emphasized one of FIGP’s objectives: strengthening staff coordination and cooperation to optimize individual and collective efforts to tackle crimes related to violence against women and firearms.

The course was carried out virtually and separated into six interactive conferences, in which participants could present their experiences and converse with UNLIREC instructors. Theoretical and technical aspects of criminal investigation were discussed in detail, as well as the way in which the gender perspective as a method of analysis helps us reach conclusions free from stereotypes, grounded in objective technical or scientific studies that are based on relevant theory. Case studies were conducted to highlight the absence of a gender perspective, which violates the rights of victims and their families.

During the training, emphasis was placed on the use of firearms to commit different types of violence against women, not only as a murder weapon, but also as a means to threaten, intimidate and coerce. The training stressed the importance of the correct management of a crime scene and of firearms and ammunition as physical evidence in investigations from a gender perspective. The course shared good practices with participants and urged them to strengthen interaction and cooperation across the different stages of judicial investigation, to optimize individual and collective efforts to tackle crimes related to firearms with special attention given to cases of gender-based violence. This helps to reduce levels of impunity and improves justice and security institutions.

This course forms part of the ‘Support for the integration of the gender perspective in policies, programmes and action in the fight against trafficking and the misuse of small arms’ project, funded by the European Union.

UNLIREC launches Forces of Change IV publication and celebrates the tenth anniversary of Resolution 65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control

On 8 December 2020, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) launched the fourth edition of the Forces of Change publication to celebrate the contributions of women in the region to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, ten years after Resolution 65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control was passed by the United Nations General Assembly on 8 December 2010.

The publication’s launch took place within the framework of the Virtual Conference “Women Forces of Change”, which had the objective of highlighting the contributions, challenges and achievements of women in the region in disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control issues, as well as providing different perspectives for strengthening the participation of women in these fields.

During the main session of the Virtual Conference, women leaders in the region working in these areas spoke about their experiences on the path to eliminating nuclear weapons, the process of laying down of weapons in the framework of the Peace Agreement signed by the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP in 2016, the challenges in cybersecurity in the region, and the work of civil society in Central America for arms control and violence prevention. They also shared their reflections on the role of women in these issues.

The publication, Forces of Change IV, explores the stories, experiences and reflections of women who, in one way or another, are promoting the implementation of the pillars established in the Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda, namely: “disarmament to save humanity”, which focuses on weapons of mass destruction; “disarmament to save lives” through stricter control of conventional weapons; “disarmament for future generations”, which examines the challenges posed by new technologies; and “strengthening partnerships for disarmament”, which seeks to establish channels of cooperation between different sectors in support of disarmament. Forces of Change IV included more than 80 women from the Latin American and Caribbean region, coming from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. The publication can be downloaded here: https://bit.ly/2LiOLEh

The Virtual Conference was open to the public and was attended by more than 100 people, including representatives from security, interior, defense and foreign relations sectors, as well as United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, specialists and the public interested in this topic.

This activity forms part of a series of activities that UNLIREC carries out to promote the regional implementation of Resolution 65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control. This initiative was made possible thanks to the funding from the Government of Canada and the Government of Sweden.

Watch the Virtual Conference here.

UNLIREC and the Women’s Office in Argentina conduct video conference on “Firearms and Gender-Based Violence: Bridging the Gap”

On Wednesday 25 November, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and in the framework of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the Women’s Office of the Supreme Court of Justice in Argentina held a video conference on “Firearms and Gender-Based Violence: Bridging the Gap”.

The event was aimed at judges, prosecutors and officials of the Judicial Branch of the various jurisdictions in the country. More than 70% of the 280 participants were women. This is very encouraging given that promoting greater participation, representation and training of women in firearms control is one of the purposes of UNLIREC’s Program on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control.

In this regard, the following international guidelines were mentioned: 2030 Agenda: SDG 5 and SDG 16; Res. AG 65/69; Res. CS 1325; CEDAW; UNPoA; among others. These not only underpin UNLIREC’s promotion of the greater participation of women in the sector, but also warn about the influence of firearms on gender-based violence against women and promote regulatory and policy changes that will account for and address this scourge.

In recent years, UNLIREC has conducted various Legal Studies that analyze and compare the national regulations of different countries in the region, on control and regulation of firearms and ammunition; regulations to prevent violence against women; and criminal and procedural codes. The purpose of the studies is to observe whether there is a regulatory crossover, for example, whether laws for the protection of women include specific measures for cases of firearms use, or whether arms control includes the variable of family and/or gender-based violence within its restrictions when issuing permits.

The conference highlighted the case of Argentina, its advances and regulatory crossovers, the policies implemented by the firearms control agency, the importance of producing disaggregated, statistical information on feminicides according to the commission mechanism and even according to the characteristics of the firearm.

Attendees were able to share concerns and interest in the subject matter addressed via the platform’s chat function. At all times, emphasis was placed on the importance of coordination and cooperation among the institutions with responsibilities in both areas: prevention of violence against women and care for victims, and control and regulation of firearms and ammunition.

This activity formed part of UNLIREC’s Program on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, supported by the Government of Canada and the European Union.