On 1 October 2020, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in coordination with the decentralized Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cajamarca, held a webinar on “Measures for preventing armed violence against women”.
More than 70 regional and local officials from the Judiciary, Public Prosecutor’s Office, National Police, regional and municipal government authorities, SUCAMEC, and Women’s Emergency Centres participated.
The seminar contextualized armed violence and violence against women in Peru and provided a gender-sensitive analysis based on gender-disaggregated statistical data to highlight the unequal impact of firearms on men and women. Continuing in this vein, UNLIREC presented the findings from its Normative Study on the link between norms on gender-based violence and small arms control and regulatory standards.
Furthermore, to promote a comprehensive approach to these problems, UNLIREC invited the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) to present the different policies for preventing armed violence against women in Peru, in particular in Cajamarca.
Finally, UNLIREC presented an overview of the measures adopted in Peru and other countries of the region to address, prevent and reduce violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as recommendations on how to integrate firearms control measures into these strategies from a gender perspective. UNLIREC called to evaluate the continuation of some measures and recommendations beyond the pandemic.
Attendees were able to share their concerns, experiences and interest in the issues addressed via the platform’s chat. At all times, the importance of coordination and cooperation among institutions with responsibilities in both issues were emphasized: the prevention of armed violence against women and attention to the victims, and the control and regulation of firearms and ammunition.
This activity forms part of UNLIREC’s Women, Disarmament, Non-proliferation and Arms Control Programme, supported by the Government of Canada and the European Union.
On 30 September, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and Instituto Sou da Paz conducted a webinar on the challenges and solutions for firearms use and possession in schools in Latin America and the Caribbean.
UNLIREC shared the most relevant findings of its recent study entitled Firearms in Latin American and Caribbean Schools: approaches, challenges and responses to a predominantly Brazilian audience. UNLIREC highlighted the fact that in recent years there has been an increasing amount of news in the media about the presence and use of firearms in schools in some countries in the region. This UNLIREC-led media monitoring study identifies the means of addressing this phenomenon and its detrimental impact by analysing over 120 cases of the presence and use of firearms in schools reported by digital media in countries across the region over a period of 9 years (between June 2010 and July 2019).
The most common manifestations of this growing phenomenon include firearms incidents taking place inside schools; students carrying firearms among their belongings; armed students who threaten and intimidate their peers and teachers; injuries and fatalities as a consequence of intentional or accidental shootings inside schools, among others. According to the findings of this study, the most common type of firearms in reported incidents were revolvers and pistols, accounting for 36% and 32%, respectively.
Likewise, with respect to where the firearms came from, it was possible to identify that in at least 25 cases, the source of firearms was directly related to the homes of the students involved. This serves as an alert as to the importance of establishing measures of safe storage for firearms carriers.
This regional approach was complemented by a national and local look at the manifestations, impacts and challenges of this phenomenon in Brazil in recent years. This analysis was carried out by representatives of Instituto Sou da Paz, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO – Brazil), as well as a specialist member of the Public Ministry of the State of São Paulo.
The panelists agreed that the presence and use of firearms in schools and the motivations that lead students to bring a firearm to school is nourished by different factors, such as the dynamics of violence in schools, the characteristics of community contexts in which the schools are located, easy access to firearms, bullying, cultural and social acceptation of firearms seen as symbols of power, authority, respect, and masculinity, among others. In this respect, the importance of ensuring an integrated approach to prevent this phenomenon was indicated.
As part of the webinar agenda, different measures and initiatives that are being implemented in some countries of the region were shared, paying special attention to preventing the presence and use of firearms in schools, such as: protocols and guidelines for action and prevention of the presence and use of firearms in schools; tools for the collection and management of information; awareness raising campaigns and education directed at students with regard to the use of firearms and armed violence; among other initiatives focused on strengthening schools as spaces that are safe and free from armed violence.
This webinar was attended by more that 70 people from Brazil and other countries in the region linked to the public sectors of education, childhood and adolescence, security, arms control, as well as representatives of agencies of the United Nations System, international cooperation bodies, civil society organizations, academia and specialists.
This discussion space was made possible thanks to the valuable financial contribution from the Government of Sweden.
For more information, please contact:
Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer
Instituto Sou da Paz
Izabelle Mundim, Press Advisor
On 7 July 2020, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) carried out its first regional webinar on how small arms control can help to prevent violence against women in the time of COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean.
UNLIREC launched the webinar by explaining the context of the impact of small arms on violence against women (VAW), with particular emphasis on the negative impact that COVID-19 confinement measures are having on dramatic increases in domestic violence. Two expert panelists also presented the national perspectives of Argentina (academy) and Mexico (National Institute for Women) regarding VAW in the context of COVID-19 and the connections to firearms, as well as existing public policies to address the problem.
The webinar concluded with an overall description of the findings and recommendations found in a UNLIREC-led research initiative. The research identified national small arms control measures adopted in the Latin American and Caribbean region during the COVID-19 pandemic that could have an impact on the prevention and eradication of VAW. In other words, on the one hand, how to include arms control in strategies to prevent, address and eradicate VAW, and, on the other hand, how to incorporate a gender perspective into firearms control and regulations measures.
220 people from 23 different countries registered for the webinar, including representatives from different public sectors (foreign affairs, defence, security, education, women’s organizations), as well as academic organizations, from civil society in the Latin American and Caribbean region, and from UN agencies.
Participants highlighted the importance of participating in such regional meetings to address the link between firearms control and VAW . In that regard, it is important to note that the activity was part of the gender and arms control programme (funded by Canada, the European Union and Sweden) and that – due to the wide interest generated thanks to this webinar – UNLIREC will continue to carry out similar webinars at the national level.
As part of the Canada-funded project “Building Momentum for the Regional implementation of A/RES/65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control”, UNLIREC – in cooperation with the Ministry of National Security of Trinidad and Tobago – undertook a sub-regional seminar on preventing armed violence against women through arms control, from 26- 27 November 2019 in Port of Spain.
The seminar brought together government representatives from 12 Caribbean States with responsibilities in addressing arms control, gender-based violence and violence against women and girls; as well as leading non-governmental organizations specialized in prevention on gender-based violence and reduction of gun violence in the Caribbean. Also participating were officials and experts from UNDP, UNODC, the Organization of American States, the Delegation of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the Center of Excellence for Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice.
The sub-regional event strengthened convergence across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament, along with the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, and the Small Arms control framework. UNLIREC led discussions on the differentiated impact of armed violence on women and the link between violence against women (VAW) and small arms control. In addition, discussions revolved around the importance of mainstreaming gender into small arms control measures, legal responses, criminal investigation and effective policing, statistics and information management, as well as prevention, education and advocacy campaigns. UNLIREC presented the findings and recommendations born of its sub-regional legal review, which cross-references small arms legislation with domestic violence provisions.
In addition to increasing awareness on small arms control as a main aspect in preventing violence against women, the importance of strengthening cooperation and coordination between experts, institutions and civil society in order to develop more gender-responsive and evidence-based small arms policies and programming, in line with international commitments and guidance, was also a major take-away from the seminar.
During the practical exercises, participants actively engaged on identifying a genuine convergence of agendas by ensuring the collection of disaggregated data on femicide perpetrators, arms involved, risk factors, and reporting on all forms of gender-based violence in order to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), in particular SDG5 (gender equality) and SDG16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).
This event is the second of a series of two sub-regional seminars. The first was held in El Salvador in March for Central American States.
As part of the Canada-funded project “Building Momentum for the Regional implementation of A/RES/65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control”, the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) carried out a sub-regional seminar entitled “Fostering Violence Prevention against Women through Arms Control. Every Woman Counts.” Dates were from 20 to 21 March 2019 in San Salvador, El Salvador.
The sub-regional seminar brought together government representatives from Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua and Panamá who have responsibility for addressing arms control, gender-based violence and violence against women and girls, as well as leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) specialized in arms control and part of the International Action Network on Small Arms. Also participating were officials and experts from UNDP, UNODC, UN Women, the Organization of American States, the Central American Integration System, and the Center of Excellence for Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice.
Nancy Robinson, UNLIREC Director, offered opening remarks stressing that the high participation achieved in the Seminar “is a testimony to the growing momentum for action against armed violence in this region.” She noted examples of how the UN and its Member States increasingly highlight and respond to the gendered nature of weapons. She encouraged participants “to stand united and work together to stop femicide and ensure that adequate controls are in place to regulate arms.”
Participants explored the differentiated impacts of armed violence on women and the link between violence against women (VAW) and small arms control through nine thematic sessions including mainstreaming gender into small arms control measures, legal responses, criminal investigation and effective policing, statistics and information management, as well as prevention, education and advocacy campaigns. After hearing the seminar sessions, participants stressed the importance of considering arms control as a main aspect in preventing violence against women and expressed their commitment to include arms control in their ongoing projects and activities, as well as when assessing current and prospective legal frameworks.
The sub-regional seminar ended with a practical exercise and small-group discussions based on a specific scenario and a case study. The active engagement of the participants generated constructive dialogues and encouraged assistants to ensure the collection of disaggregated data on femicide perpetrators, arms involved, risk factors, and reporting on all forms of gender-based violence in order to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), in particular the SDG5 (gender equality) and SDG16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).
The sub-regional seminar is part of a regional project funded by the Government of Canada and it was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador.