On 15 December 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Ministry on Women’s Condition and Women’s Rights in Haiti and with the support of the United Nations Development Programme in Haiti, held a national virtual seminar on “Measures to Prevent Armed Violence against Women”. 

The main objectives of the webinar were to present the issue of armed violence and violence against women, the links between the two and their impacts on society; sensitize about the importance of linking the legal framework on firearms and ammunition control with the prevention of violence against women, as well as promoting an inter-institutional and collaborative approach to address and prevent gender-based armed violence against women.

In her opening remarks, the Minister on Women’s Condition and Women’s Rights emphasized the fact that the issue of armed violence against women was a priority for the Government as girls and women were particularly affected by violence perpetrated by criminal groups.

The first presentation, given by UNLIREC, made visible the differentiated impact of firearms on men and women, at the global, regional and national levels. It also emphasized the incidence of firearms on the different types of gender-based violence, including femicides. The presentation pointed to the presence of a firearm as a risk factor not only because it can be lethal but also because it is an element that can be used to threaten and coerce victims, therefore increasing their vulnerability.

UNLIREC’s second and last presentation for this activity focused on the findings of the Legal Study on the Making the link between norms on violence against women and small arms control and regulation norms: analysis of Haiti which analyzes Haiti’s norms in both thematic areas. During the seminar, references were made to good practices that were found in different countries’ legal framework in the region. A special emphasis was made on the importance of including and defining the crime of femicide in the national legal framework, as well as several types of measures to prevent and protect women from being victims of violence committed with firearms. The presentation also referred to the possibility of conducting a risk analysis from the very moment a person requests to possess a firearm as a prevention measure.

The virtual event was open to government officials, civil society organizations, including women and youth organizations, academia and international and regional cooperation agencies and programs. 59 people, including a large majority of 40 women, attended the event. The audience included government officials and mostly civil society organizations and agencies and programs of the United Nations System in Haiti.

This initiative is part of a series of activities that UNLIREC carried out to strengthen national capacities to develop and implement gender-sensitive approaches to issues related to the reduction of armed violence. This initiative was possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of Canada.