On 23 March 2021, UNLIREC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Panamanian National Women’s Institute, 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, UNLIREC 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 Panama, 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.

UNLIREC also shared 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 it recognised good work across the region as much as it did in Panama in particular. Among other measures, Panamanian rules threaten to refuse, suspend or cancel the owner’s firearm licence if they commit acts of domestic violence or are reported to have incited them.

Finally, the Panamanian National Women’s Institute (INAMU) highlighted the work they do to coordinate and carry out national policy on equal opportunities for women. During the presentation, they discussed the state of violence against women across the nation, the institutional action directed from INAMU centres, and the national challenges of improving attention and prevention of this phenomenon.

The virtual event, open to the public, was attended by over 130 people, 116 of whom identified as women. The audience included representatives from administrative institutions and national security organisations, such as the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Women’s Institute, State Prosecution Service, the National Immigration Service, the National Aeronaval Service, among other institutions, as well as civil society and academy.

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.