On 3 May 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) in collaboration with the Ministry of National Security hosted a webinar on “Measures to prevent armed violence against women”, which gathered close to 50 participants from different sectors of the Government and other organisations.
One of the main objectives of the event was to highlight the necessity of firearms control in efforts seeking to prevent and eliminate violence against women, considering that the Latin American and Caribbean region presents alarming figures of gender based intentional homicides of women and girls. According to the Observatory on Gender Equality in Latin America and the Caribbean of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), from 2019 to 2020, at least 4,091 femicides, or an equivalent of 11 crimes per day, were committed in 26 countries in the region while Jamaica reported a rate of 0,5 femicide per 100,000 inhabitants.
In this regard, the underlying challenges in identifying and measuring femicides were emphasized, especially in Jamaica, where a clear legal definition has not yet been integrated in the criminal code. The importance of measuring the collecting data on the use of firearms in cases of psychological, physical and sexual violence against women was also highlighted.
The main findings and recommendations of the “Normative study: making the link between norms on violence against women and small arms control and regulation norms: Analysis of CARICOM States” were presented. One of the recommendations made is the need to suspend and revoke firearms licenses in cases of gender-based violence, as well as seizing these weapons when they represent a danger for women. Likewise, the importance of ensuring the suitability of an applicant to a firearms license was highlighted, which should not be solely based on the lack of a criminal record, but also involve carrying out a risk profiling of the candidate.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) presented their responses to domestic violence, including its most recent policy on the procedural approach taken by JCF members on domestic violence cases.
To complete the overview of national measures taken by the Government of Jamaica to prevent armed violence against women, the Bureau of Gender Affairs of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports presented the National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Jamaica (2017-2027), as well as recent legislative updates and other initiatives which seek to prevent GBV.
Participants were interested in exploring the establishment of a definition of femicide and gender-motivated violence. They also inquired about the tracing of firearms used in domestic violence cases, as well as measures to prevent armed violence on children and youth. The webinar was funded by European Union through the project entitled “Supporting gender mainstreamed policies, programmes and actions in the fight against small arms trafficking and misuse, in line with the Women, Peace and Security agenda.”