The United Nations Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) continues moving forward on the implementation of the project Strengthening the capacity for effective and transparent management of small arms and ammunition in the private security sector in Costa Rica, which began in September 2016, in partnership with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). This assistance package is possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

During the months of March and April of 2017, UNLIREC has been supporting the Costa Rican government in the implementation of different activities aimed at strengthening arms control in the private security sector in the country. With the aim of making the achievements visible, the Government of Costa Rica convened a public event on April 3, 2017, in San José, where weapons were marked and destroyed in the presence of different national authorities and sectors of society.

UNLIREC has been advancing in the secondary marking of firearms owned by private security companies. This type of marking, made with laser technology, contributes to improving the inventory management of the companies’ weapons. In addition, secondary marking – a follow up marking at the time of the manufacture of the weapon – allows tracking the weapons, along with reconstructing their trajectory in time and space from its manufacture to its last legal owner, thus facilitating the traceability and criminal investigation process in the case of deviation. Between March and April, more than 500 firearms have been marked belonging to 10 security companies. Markings are expected to continue in the coming months with this initiative. While marking the firearms, Costa Rica continues to move forward in the fulfillment of the international agreements signed on the combat to the illicit traffic in small arms.

Additionally, UNLIREC accompanied the first destruction of weapons belonging to private security companies. Since 2016 security companies in the country are determining the need to carry and use firearms, depending on the locations where their services are rendered. Following the trend in the reduction of weapons, some companies are delivering the weapons that are no longer required to the national authorities for their destruction. During the first week of April, UNLIREC verified the destruction of 454 weapons of 17 different companies and certified that the process was carried out in accordance with international standards and good practices recognized in the matter. The destruction of weapons is one of the most effective measures to prevent unwanted weapons from entering illegal cycles and end up causing damage.

Finally, UNLIREC and DCAF held meetings with legal advisors from the Ministry of Public Security in which progress was made in the incorporation of international norms and standards in the processes of reforms to the private security law currently being developed in the country.

Since 2016, UNLIREC and DCAF have supported the Government of Costa Rica and the private security guild in the country to promote standards, best practices and initiatives of international recognition such as the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers and The United Nations International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) and the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATGs).

Through its assistance to the States of Latin America and the Caribbean, UNLIREC supports States in improving public security and in implementing the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UN 2001 PoA).