A series of destruction initiatives in the Dominican Republic resulted in over 30,000 firearms and 30 tonnes of ammunition being destroyed in a collaborative effort between the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the Ministry of the Armed Forces of the Dominican Republic (MAF-DR). These achievements demonstrate the success in the implementation of a National Action Plan for Stockpile Management and Firearms and Ammunition Destruction – jointly developed by UNLIREC and MAF-DR in 2010 – thanks to a grant provided by the Office for Weapons Removal and Abatement at the U.S. Department of State.

Since 2010, UNLIREC has provided the Dominican Republic with pioneering destruction equipment and technical know-how on managing stockpiles and destroying weapons according to internationally-accepted best practices and guidelines. By providing the Dominican Republic with permanent technical and human resource capacity as well as infrastructure, this Caribbean State advances one step further toward independent stockpile management and destruction measures plus avoidance of possible weapons re-entry into illicit trafficking rings.

When asked to comment on the impact of the destruction measures, Mélanie Régimbal, Director of UNLIREC, commented that “if each firearm and bullet destroyed in the Dominican Republic represents the potential to kill, hurt or threaten someone, then the United Nations, together with the MAF-DR, have contributed to preventing tens of thousands of gun-related crimes”. Régimbal praised the pro-active participation by two female officials from the munitions depot in their role as technical team leaders in the final phase of the destruction process giving life to UN General Assembly resolution 65/69 on “women, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control”.

Over the last 3 years, UNLIREC has also helped to enhance the security of 40 weapons and ammunition stockpile facilities belonging to the Dominican Army, Navy and Air Force. UNLIREC trained over 50 officials in stockpile management and in destruction standards and operations. The next phase of UNLIREC assistance to the Dominican Republic, to begin in July 2013, will include specialized training of judges and prosecutors to reduce impunity in cases of illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking.

UNLIREC, the regional arm of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, based in Lima, Peru, assists 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in their implementation of arms control and disarmament programmes and instruments, such as the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms. Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer at (cowl@unlirec.org).