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.