On 18 March 2021, UNLIREC, in collaboration with the Colombian government’s Ministry of the Interior, delivered a national virtual seminar on ‘measures to prevent armed violence against women’.

The virtual seminar’s central objectives were to explain the problems with armed violence and violence against women (VAW), to present the links between the two and their impact on society, to highlight the importance of connecting regulation of arms control to the prevention of VAW, and to promote an interinstitutional approach towards tackling and preventing gender-based armed violence (GBV) against women.

Firstly, the Colombian government’s Ministry of the Interior presented the state of gender-based violence across the nation, including statistics and the regulatory framework of policy, programmes and national initiatives in place to prevent and tackle this phenomenon. During the presentation, the Ministry made special reference to its protective measures related to arms control that have been established to protect women in cases of GBV.

UNLIREC also highlighted the disparity between firearms’ impact on men and women at a global level, as well as a regional and national one. It also emphasised the influence of firearms on different types of GBV in the region and in Colombia, including femicide. The presentation identified a firearm as a risk factor – not only because of its lethal potential – but also due to its power to threaten or suppress victims, making them more vulnerable.

Finally, UNLIREC presented the findings of the Regulatory study on the links between regulation of gender-based violence and regulation and control of small weapons: an analysis of Central America, Colombia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The study analyses different countries in the region’s approach, and special mention was given to the region’s good work on the subject.

The virtual event, open to the general public, was attended by over 330 people, including a strong majority of women (263). The audience included representatives from administrative institutions and national security organisations, such as the Ministry of the Interior, State Prosecution Service, the Health Secretary, the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, Office of the Attorney General, and departmental and local authorities, civil society, academy, and the United Nations System in Colombia.

This initiative forms part of a series of activities that the UNLIREC is leading to empower nations to develop and take a sensitive approach to gender in the context of reducing armed violence. The initiative was made possible thanks to funding from the Canadian government.

Here are links to a recording of the virtual seminar and the presentations.