From 16-17 May 2018, UNLIREC carried out its third sub-regional meeting for Caribbean States on forensic ballistics at its headquarters in Lima, Peru. The meeting built upon two previous regional encounters held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2016 and the Dominican Republic in 2017 where States highlighted the need for improved sharing of ballistics information at national and regional levels.

Over 35 State representatives, ballistic experts and international organizations were present, including INTERPOL and CARICOM IMPACS. The two-day meeting focused on leveraging ballistic data to combat gun crime and illicit firearms trafficking, improving coordination and ballistic information sharing among agencies as well as integrating quality controls and standard operating procedures in laboratories across the region. The event formed part of UNLIREC’s region-wide assistance package on operational forensic ballistics which is funded by the governments of Canada and the United States.

Eight Caribbean Member States, including Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago, were represented at both the operational and policy levels. Participants highlighted current practices in, inter alia, firearms tracing as well as ballistic information sharing via the use of double casts and equipment previously provided by UNLIREC during project implementation. The need to improve the communication and coordination between forensic units and criminal investigative departments was underscored as a way to ensure that the forensic data and intelligence currently being generated is effectively utilized.

Representatives spoke on the progress made by their respective States since the inception of UNLIREC´s Assistance Package as well as on the resource challenges being faced by firearms examiners and forensic personnel in terms of human resource capacity; laboratory accreditation and quality management; and technology.

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 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.