On 15 October 2020, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, conducted a seminar on measures for preventing armed violence against women.

Approximately 40 officials from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Security, and Defense (Arms Registry Department), the National Civil Police (Gender Unit) and the Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women (ISDEMU) participated in the one-day virtual event.

UNLIREC launched the seminar with an overview and analysis of statistics on armed violence and violence against women (VAW) in El Salvador and the wider Latin American and Caribbean region, emphasizing feminicides and the impact influence of firearms on the various types of VAW (physical, sexual and psychological). Subsequently, UNLIREC presented the findings from its legal study on the link between rules on gender-based violence and small arms control and regulatory standards.

ISDEMU participated in discussions in order to promote a comprehensive and interinstitutional approach to the problem by exploring the various policies implemented in El Salvador vis-à-vis the prevention of VAW.

Finally, there was a walkthrough of the various strategies selected by the countries of the region to prevent and address VAW during social isolation and confinement measures throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and recommendations on how to integrate firearms control into these initiatives, and vice versa; that is, recommendations to integrate gender perspectives and prevention of VAW into firearms control measures. The need to evaluate the continued implementation of some measures and recommendations beyond the pandemic was also addressed.

A common theme of the event was the importance of coordination and cooperation among institutions with responsibilities in the prevention of VAW and care for 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.