From 21 – 24 August, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), together with the government of the Dominican Republic, carried out three activities aimed at strengthening forensic ballistics capacities in the region.

From 21-22 August, UNLIREC carried out technical assessments of the ballistics laboratories at the National Forensic Science Institute (INACIF) in Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo, as well as the Scientific Police ballistics laboratory. The results of which were discussed during a national roundtable held on 24 August, with government stakeholders.

On 23 August, UNLIREC organized a regional meeting with representatives from Central America and the Dominican Republic to discuss opportunities for the sharing of information and ballistics evidence both within and among States. 21 officials from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras participated in this roundtable. The exchange of ballistics information and evidence increases the capacity of authorities to make connections between crimes and crime scenes, nationally, regionally and internationally, and ultimately allows for a reduction in impunity in firearms-related cases. Representatives also benefited from a visit to the Ballistics and Biometric Laboratory of the National Arms System (LABBS) to observe best practices and discuss firearms registries.

These initiatives are part of UNLIREC’s Caribbean Operational Forensic Ballistics Assistance Package, which is made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State and the Government of Canada.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms.