Between 28 June and 9 July, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, delivered a specialised course on firearms investigations from a gender perspective (CEGAF) in Honduras.

The course aims to sensitise participants on the importance of considering gender perspectives in tackling crimes committed with firearms, to strengthen their technical knowledge of the scientific methods behind criminal investigation, and to encourage interinstitutional cooperation in these fields.

The course was delivered to close to 40 officials (27 women) belonging to the Honduran police force, the public prosecutor’s office, and the presidential programme ‘Women’s City’ through six virtual sessions, with audiovisual resources and extra reading on each topic. It included a regional overview of the proliferation of firearms, as well as armed violence and its impacts, paying special attention to femicides and other forms of violence against women. The course covered the scientific, judicial and technical grounds for using the gender perspective in criminal and forensic investigations, and also discussed the importance of correctly processing the crime scene and managing firearms and ammunition as evidence of crimes against women.

The final session, which consisted of a practical group exercise, invited participants to analyse different investigation scenarios and think about recurrent features in firearms investigations, such as the preservation of the crime scene or the prioritisation of evidence a gender perspective.

The present course is the seventh that UNLIREC has delivered in the region since the beginning of the year and forms part of a series of initiatives to empower countries to investigate crimes committed with firearms from a gender perspective.

The course has been devised in light of the region’s worrying femicide rates. 14 of the 25 countries with the highest femicide rates worldwide are in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particularly high rate of 6.2 per 100,000 women in Honduras.

This initiative was made possible thanks to funding from the Canadian government.