On Wednesday 17 February 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in coordination with the Guatemalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Presidential Secretariat for Women, held a webinar on “Measures preventing armed violence against women”.

49 representatives from different public bodies and civil society organizations dealing with the issue of armed violence and preventing violence against women participated in the webinar. Given that one of the purposes of UNLIREC’s Women, Disarmament, Non-proliferation and Arms Control Programme, supported by the European Union, is to promote the participation and training of women in the aforementioned areas, it is important to highlight that 70% of the participants were women.

The webinar began with an overview and analysis of statistics on armed violence and violence against women at national, regional and global levels, emphasizing how firearms-related incidents are not only confined to feminicides, but also different types of violence against women, whether physical, sexual and psychological. The presence of a firearm in a context of gender-based violence should be considered a risk factor not only because of its lethality, but also because it is used to threaten and intimidate victims, increasing their vulnerability.

Furthermore, UNLIREC presented the main findings from its Normative Study on the necessary link between rules on gender-based violence and small arms control and regulatory standards. The study analyzed the national regulations of different countries in the region. During the webinar, special reference was made to the case of Guatemala.

In order to promote a comprehensive and inter-institutional approach to the problem, UNLIREC invited the Guatemalan Presidential Secretariat for Women (SEPREM) to present and discuss the different policies on the prevention of violence against women carried out at the national level. In this regard, it is important to highlight that Guatemala is one of the seven countries in the region to present a National Action Plan to implement Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace and Security”. The SEPREM panelist mentioned the main guidelines of the NAP launched in 2017.

Finally, it should be noted that this activity took place in the framework of the campaign launched by IANSA and supported by UNODA: “Gun free Valentine”. The campaign is running from 14 February to 8 March. Under the slogans Disarm domestic violence and Love does not include guns, the main purpose is to raise awareness about the risks of having a gun in the home, intimate partner violence and how, with more effective laws, lives can be saved.

The webinar forms part of the project Supporting gender mainstreamed policies, programmes and actions in the fight against trafficking and misuse of small arms, in line with the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, supported by the European Union.