On Wednesday 2 December, in the framework of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), the National Institute for Women (INMUJERES) and the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women (CONAVIM) held a virtual conference on “Firearms control to reduce violence against women”.

The event was aimed at officials from the following sectors: security, justice, arms control, gender and women, as well as Civil Society Organizations and academic sectors that address these issues. It is important to note that of the 344 people who participated, 80% were women. This is encouraging considering that promoting the participation and training of women in firearms control is one of the main premises guiding UNLIREC’s work in the region.

Important national officials participated in the opening remarks of the conference, namely Dr. Fabiola Alanís Sámano, National Commissioner to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women; Dr. Sara Irene Herrerías Guerra, Head of the Specialized Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office; Ms. Paulina Téllez Martínez, Head of the Justice System Support Unit; Mr. Ricardo Mejía, Undersecretary of Public Security; Ms. María Rodríguez, Director of the Chancellor’s Office; and Dr. Nadine Gasman Zylbermann, President of INMUJERES.

Following the opening remarks, the experts’ presentations began. First, Ms. Magda Coss, from the National Institute for Women in Mexico, presented the national panorama of armed violence from a gender perspective and Ms. Estefanía Vela, from the civil society organization Intersecta, presented statistics on violence against women caused by firearms in different contexts.

Once the problem had been presented, Ms. Sonia Fernández, UNLIREC Legal Coordinator, shared the main findings and conclusions from the Normative Study that addresses the link between the norms on violence against women and the norms of the regulation and control of small arms, with special emphasis on the case of Mexico.

The attendees were able to share their questions, comments and interest in the topic addressed via the platform’s chat function. At all times, emphasis was placed on the importance of increasing coordination and cooperation among institutions with responsibilities both in firearms and ammunition control and in preventing and addressing violence against women.

This activity formed part of UNLIREC’s Program on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, supported by the Government of Canada and the European Union.