NEWS AND EVENTS
UNODC strengthens Firearms Marking Capacity in West Africa
4-8 January 2016, Cotonou, Bénin
Workshops on Synergies between Firearms Control Instruments
On 13 to 14 October 2015 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government of Costa Rica hosted a Regional Meeting for Latin America in the city of San José on "Synergies between international instruments on arms control - Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Protocol on Firearms and Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPoA)". Earlier, on 29-30 September 2015, UNODC co-organised a similar workshop with the Ivorian Government in Abidjan aimed at West and Central African States.
These activities are part of a UNODC project aimed at promoting a better understanding of these instruments and their implementation. The project was funded by the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR), a multi-donor fund for supporting implementation of the ATT and the UNPoA.
Based on a Study developed by UNODC, during the meeting, participants formulated concrete recommendations on the legislative options and public policies for State Parties in order to strengthen weapons control in accordance with the various international instruments, with emphasis on the synergies identified. Member States exchanged views and experiences on the challenges encountered so far in the implementation of these instruments in order to promote harmonized approaches and to promote cooperation, as well as to identify specific needs for technical assistance. The recommendations were then integrated into the study which will be subsequently published and widely distributed among target groups.
In San José, the Meeting brought together 47 firearms control authorities and criminal justice practitioners from 16 Latin American countries as well as representatives from International Organisations, including the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and civil society. In Abidjan, the workshop gathered 40 delegates from nine Member States from West and Central Africa, as well as representatives and Economic Community of the States of West Africa (ECOWAS), the United Nations Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), UNDP, the United Nations Mine Action Service, Interpol, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and civil society.
27 March 2015
Global Firearms Programme supports sharing of good practices and lessons learned on countering illicit firearms trafficking between South American and Sahel-Saharan countries
On 23- 26 March 2015 the United Nations Office in Drugs and Crime, UNODC hosted a Cross- Regional Meeting titled "Sharing of Good Practices in Countering Illicit Manufacturing and Illicit trafficking in Firearms and its Link to transnational Organized Crime, Lessons Learned from the Global Firearms Programme- GLOX34". The meeting was carried out in the framework of the Global Firearms Programme funded by the European Union and partially the Governments of Japan through its contribution to the Sahel Programme.
The meeting was opened by Mr. Tofik Murshudlu, Representative of UNODC Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch and Ms. Dominika Krois, Representative of the European Union Delegation in Vienna. The meeting brought together 32 firearms control authorities and criminal justice practitioners from 19 countries representing South America and the Sahel-Saharan region.
The meeting facilitated the discussions on the similarities and differences of the firearms trafficking situation in the two regions. It also examined concrete experiences in the areas of legislative development; marking, record keeping collection and destruction of firearms; investigation and prosecution of firearms related crimes and their links to organized crime; good practices in law enforcement and judicial cooperation; as well as data analysis on firearms trafficking. The meeting considered ways to further facilitate regular exchanges of good practices among practitioners.
15 July 2014
Training Course on Investigation and Prosecution of Firearms Trafficking
On 8-11 July 2014 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, UNODC organized a training course on investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking in partnership with the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
During the training, UNODC experts and twenty national law enforcement and judicial officials reviewed the legal grounds for prosecution of illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, analysed trafficking cases, explored various investigative techniques and engaged in firearms identification exercises. The participants received practical information on conducting firearms tracing and engaging in international cooperation for the purpose of obtaining relevant and admissible evidence.
The course was developed within the framework of the UNODC Global Firearms Programme and funded by the European Commission under the Instrument for Stability.
28 February 2014
Strengthen the legislative and operational response against trafficking in firearms in West Africa and the Sahel region
On 25-27 February 2014, in Dakar, Senegal, UNODC organised a regional seminar on the legislative and operational response against trafficking in firearms. This event was the first regional initiative within the firearms component of UNODC's Sahel strategy. The main goal of the regional seminar was to further strengthen the cooperation between countries in the Sahel and West African regions in combatting the illicit firearms trafficking.
The seminar aimed at outlining the problem of firearms trafficking in the region, sharing the progress achieved as well as the remaining challenges in adopting legislation that would provide law enforcement services with the relevant legal instruments. A review was also undertaken to assess the available operational mechanisms, best practice and lessons learned in the fight against firearms trafficking. Information about presentations and group discussions is accessible in the seminar report, which can be downloaded here.
The participants were composed of government, law enforcement and judiciary experts. The countries represented from the West African and Sahel region were Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
The organization of the seminar was supported by the Government of Japan.
15 October 2013
Training Course on Investigation and Prosecution of Firearms Trafficking
On 14-18 October 2013 in Accra, Ghana, UNODC, in partnership with the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons of the Republic of Ghana (NACSA) and INTERPOL, organized a training course on investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking.
The specific goals of the training were to reinforce and build upon past experiences in firearms investigations; to gain new knowledge and skill relating to investigating and prosecuting trafficking in firearms; and to learn how to exchange information on trans-national firearms investigations.
The course provided to twenty nine Ghanaian criminal justice practitioners a well-founded background in the core skills required to investigate trafficking in firearms and other firearms related offences. The training focused on preparing practitioners with the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and abilities needed to conduct investigations, trace firearms, engage in multilateral cooperation and prepare cases for successful prosecution. Participants learned methods and practical skills that they take back into their workplaces to employ and share. Representatives of the civil society organizations participated as observers in the course.
The course was developed within the framework of the UNODC Global Programme on Firearms (GPF). The training event is part of the UNODC and NACSA strategy to provide sustainable technical assistance for enhancing national capacity to counter the trafficking in firearms and support law enforcement agencies in their fight against transnational organized crime.
The training course was funded by the European Commission under the Instrument for Stability.
23 April 2013
Side Event on Monitoring Illicit Firearms Trafficking, its Routes and Modus Operandi
UNODC and INTERPOL co-organized a side event on the options for monitoring firearms trafficking, its routes and modus operandi. The event was opened by Mr. Tofik Murshudlu, Chief of the Implementation Support Section of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking branch of UNODC and Mr. Jeffrey Stirling, Coordinator of the Firearms Programme in INTERPOL, who underlined the need for Member States to focus on obtaining reliable and comparable empiric data in order to have a better understanding on the problematic of illicit firearms trafficking, and its transnational dimension, impact, as well as its connections to organized crime.
Ms. Simonetta Grassi (UNODC) and Mr. Enrico Bisogno (UNODC) presented the need for developing a study on firearms trafficking, which will enable Member States to understand better the threats they face and take actions to prevent and combat them. Mr. Bisogno described the success of UNODC's research on drugs trafficking, which have increased international cooperation and contributed towards the creation of successful policy interventions. Ms. Grassi outlined the need to build on the existing UNODC's experience and resources, and in cooperation with Member States and interested international partners, to conduct a study on firearms trafficking as provided for in the resolutions of the Conferences of the Parties. Ms. Grassi presented the methodology, the structure and the links of the future study to the existing mechanisms for data collection, specifically the INTERPOL's management system for tracing illicit arms records (iARMs). Ms. Grassi concluded by emphasizing that the outcomes of the study will include support for Member States to conduct criminal investigations on firearms trafficking, to cooperate among each other with the ultimate goal to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.
Mr. Jeffrey Stirling (INTERPOL) gave a presentation on the development of iARMS, the opportunities and the challenges for Member States in using the system. Mr. Stirling explained with concrete examples how iARMS can be used by Member States for tracing lost, stolen, trafficked and smuggled firearms. He highlighted the need for support for the implementation of the new system and expressed hope that Member States will use it proactively by providing regularly the required information. Mr. Stirling concluded his presentation by outlining the areas of future cooperation with UNODC in the field of capacity building and technical support.
The side event was chaired by Mr. Tofik Murshudlu, Chief of the Implementation Support Section, (UNODC).
19-20 March 2013
Global Programme on Firearms and the Container Control Programme Training Course
UNODC provided training to officials of the law enforcement and customs agencies from Albania and Montenegro, who are members of the Joint Port Control Units, established under the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). Thus, a training component from Global Project on Firearms was incorporated for the first time in the CCP's training course.
The training included presentations on the global, regional and national legal frameworks for transfer controls; review of the decision making process for issuance or denial of import and export licences and authorizations; licensing control and reporting; overview of the documentation requirements and data relevant to the export and import of controlled goods; and record-keeping for the purposes of investigation and tracing of seized firearms.
The training on the legal framework on transfer controls and the identification of firearms for the purpose of investigation and tracing complimented the work of the CCP. It provided the beneficiaries with information, which empowered them to review the transfer control process not only from the enforcement perspective, but also to establish the links between the various actors and decision making involved in it. Furthermore, it provided them with practical knowledge on the identification of firearms, which is required for the purposes of investigation and international cooperation.
The training took place in Vljora, Albania, and was an example of an excellent team work between the UNODC's units during the planning and delivery of capacity building activities.
21 November 2012
UNODC participates in a high level EU conference
On 19 November UNODC made a presentation on the UNODC's global state of art and future steps in the implementation of its mandate with regard to the Firearms Protocol at the high level conference "Fight against illicit trafficking in firearms. Where do we stand?". The conference was organized by DG Home Affairs and attended by Ms. Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
The conference provided an overall picture of where the European Union stood in terms of existing legislation and policies on illicit firearms trafficking. It helped to identify future steps to improve the European legal framework and effectively address this phenomenon.
The conference gathered experts from the Law Enforcement Agencies, representatives from the industry and the civil society, as well as policy makers of all EU Member States to discuss political guidance and possible Commission initiatives in this field. Commissioner Malmström called for the full support and engagement from actors at all levels - international, national, regional and local - to develop a stronger EU policy in this area.
UNODC contributed to the overall goal of the conference by presenting its mandate, strategy and priorities of the organization in combating trafficking in firearms. Further UNODC outlined the main achievements and the challenges encountered in the process of implementation of the Firearms Protocol.
30 October - 2 November 2012 MERCOSUR
MERCOSUR Participation in the XXIII GTAM Meeting
The MERCOSUR Working Group on Firearms and Ammunition, composed by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Government Authorities responsible for the record keeping, control, authorization, auditing and all activities related to firearms and other materials. This semester the Federative Republic of Brazil is exercising the Presidency Pro-Tempore, the UNODC was invited by the cited Presidency to present the current progress of the Global Project X34, by which States Parties, Mercosur Associates and UNODC work together to strengthen the implementation of the Firearms Protocol.
UNODC, presented the results of the work done so far in the Regional Seminar on legislative harmonization and best practices for the implementation of the firearms protocol in South America, held in Buenos Aires in June 2012. The draft produced on the "Strategies to promote harmonization of the implementation of the Firearms Protocol in South America", contains an analysis of the general situation on the difficulties in the regional implementation of the Protocol, as well as actions to counter these difficulties, proposals and activities suggested by UNODC to strengthen the State and the Regions and the interaction with other regional and international instruments.
18 October 2012
Sixth Conference of the Parties, Vienna, Austria
Side Event on the Synergies between the Firearms Protocol, UN PoA and the Arms Trade Treaty
The Government of Mexico and the Academic Council of the United Nations System have co-sponsored a side event where the representatives from the Republic of Austria, UNODC and the Geneva Forum discussed about the complementary and mutually reinforcing elements of the Firearms Protocol, UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UN PoA) and the process towards the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
The event was chaired by Ms. Simonetta Grassi (UNODC) and Ms. Silvia Cattaneo (Geneva Forum) who highlighted the importance of the interaction between the various regimes of arms control.
Mr. Martin Krüger (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Austria) gave a presentation on the challenges and opportunities associated with the negotiations on Arms Trade Treaty. He provided an overview of the process leading to these negotiations and described the scope and the implementation modalities of the negotiated treaty. He concluded his presentation with an outline of the road map towards the next round of negotiations on the ATT.
Mr. David Atwood (Geneva Forum) presented the structure of the UN PoA and the main developments since its adoption in 2001. He focused later on the outcomes of from 2012 Review Conference of the UN PoA the links between this process and the UN Firearms Protocol.
Mr. Diman Dimov (UNODC) provided an overview of the Firearms' Protocol provisions and the status of its ratification. Further, he made a comparison between the Firearms Protocol and with the proposed draft for an ATT and provided examples, which establish a relationship based on an evolution in terms of scope and implementation modalities, as well as complementarity in various areas such as security measures and the regulation of brokering activities.
The presentations were followed by a question and answers session where Member States and NGO representatives shared their views on the synergies between the Firearms Protocol, UN PoA and the ATT.
24 September 2012
Legislative support to Ghana
On 18 - 20 September UNODC held meetings in Accra, Ghana, with representatives from the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the relevant officials from the Ministry of the Interior and the Police Service. The mission was within the framework of the global project on firearms with a focus on the implementation of the activities under cluster one: to promote adherence and implementation of UNTOC and its Firearms Protocol and support regional harmonization efforts, through legislative assessments and gap analysis and provision of tailored legislative advice and legal drafting support.
The mission's objective was to follow up on the accession of Ghana to the UN Firearms Protocol with specific advice on the legislative harmonization between the domestic legislation and Protocol's provisions. UNODC presented to the national counterparts the findings of the comparative analysis between the UN Firearms Protocol, the ECOWAS Convention on SALW and the domestic legislation on firearms. The legislative review focused on the provisions related to definitions of firearms and ammunition, record-keeping, marking of firearms with special attention on the organization of the import marking, export and import controls, the procedure for seizures and the provisions on firearms related offences.
UNODC held meetings with the representatives of the UN Coordination Office and the Delegation of the European Union, who were informed about the activities under the global project on firearms.
16 - 21 September 2012 Panama
Development of a Record Keeping System by Panama and UNODC
The Republic of Panama in a joint initiative with the UNODC Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean (ROPAN) and the General Coordinator of the Global Project X34, are developing a record keeping system that will strengthen the efforts in the implementation of the new General Law on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials, as well as the Firearms Protocol.
20 July 2012
Needs assessment in The Gambia
On 04-06 July UNODC held meetings in Banjul, The Gambia, within the framework of the global project on firearms, with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of Justice. During the visit UNODC met also with representatives of the civil society organized in the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP Gambia). Further, UNODC participated in a special session of the Committee on Defence and Security of the National Assembly and held meetings with the Clerk of the National Assembly and the House Majority Leader.
Based on the findings during the mission and the follow-up discussions, a consensus was reached that a comprehensive overhaul of the current legislation would be required to put in place the regulatory framework necessary to give effect to relevant international instruments, including the UN Firearms Protocol and the ECOWAS Convention on SALW. It was also agreed that a new law would have to be supported by comprehensive subsidiary legislation, including regulations and rules to give effect to its basic provisions. Administrative guidelines would also have to put in place to guide all the processes.
Coordination meetings were held with the representatives of the Delegation of the European Union and the UNDP, who were informed about the activities under the global project on firearms.
13 July 2012
Regional Seminar on the Firearms Protocol
On 10-12 July in Dakar, Senegal UNODC organized a regional seminar on legislative harmonisation and good practices for the implementation of the Firearms Protocol. Information about the presentations and the group discussions is available in the seminar report, which can be downloaded here.
The objective of the seminar was to provide an update and share experience in the implementation of the Firearms Protocol by the countries in the region based on a comparative legislative analysis of the domestic firearms legislations. A specific objective was to identify specific legislative development and technical assistance needs.
The participants included government experts and representatives from the judiciary and civil society organizations from the countries in West Africa including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia and Togo.
The seminar was funded by the European Commission under the Instrument for Stability.
25- 27 June 2012- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Regional Seminar: "Harmonization of legislation and best practices for the implementation of the Firearms Protocol in South America"
The Regional Seminar on the harmonization of laws and best practices for the implementation of the Firearms Protocol in the region, took place on 25, 26 and 27 June in Buenos Aires. The meeting was attended by Member States of Mercosur and Associated States, their delegations consisted of officials from Gun Control divisions (Ministry of Defence, Police, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Security), Attorney General's Office, Judiciary, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Civil Society.
The seminar focused on the regional harmonization in the implementation of the Firearms Protocol, addressing each article individually. As a result, regional strategies were developed aiming to improve national legislation, as well as strengthening harmonization and cooperation among States
14-15 May de 2012 Washington, DC, USA.
Global Project X34 Presentation at the OAS
UNODC was invited by the Organization of American States (OAS) to present the project at the Third Global Conference of States Parties to the Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (CIFTA).
7 May 2012 - Buenos Aires
Seminar "Disarmament of Civil Society"
In the framework of the Meeting of Ministers of Justice of MERCOSUR and Associated States, a regional seminar was held on "Disarmament of Civil Society: Towards a Comprehensive Regional Strategy", organized by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of the Republic of Argentina.
5 May 2012 - Argentina
Destruction of Firearms
UNODC has participated in the destruction of 10,745 firearms from the "National Voluntary Surrender of Firearms Program", this nationwide program is part of a comprehensive policy for the control and prevention of armed violence, aiming to reduce the circulation of weapons among civilians and contribute in the reduction of violence in Argentina. Since the program began in July 10, 2007, RENAR has advanced in the destruction of 118,506 firearms through the methods of crushing and smelting
27 April 2012
Side Event on Countering Illicit Firearms Trafficking and Related Criminality
UNODC and the Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute (SIPRI) co-organized a side event on the development of specialized tools to counter illicit trafficking during the twenty-first session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The event was opened by Pierre Lapaque, Chief of the Implemetnation Support Section of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking branch of UNODC. Ms. Simonetta Grassi (UNODC) presented the technical assistance tools developed by UNODC to support Member States' efforts to adhere to and implement the Ogranized Crime Convention and the Firearms Protocol. Reference was made during her presentation to the Model Law against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, the Technical Guide for the Implementation of the Firearms Protocol, the Omnibus Survey Software, and the most recent tool, currently under development, which is a Comprehensive Training Curriculum on Firearms Control.
Mr. Hugh Griffiths (SIPRI) gave a presentation on the challenges and opportunities for countering firearms trafficking by air. Mr. Griffiths provided some facts and data on the incidence of firearms traffic by air, and described some of the most common features and characteristics of such traffic, including its challenges, as well as the existing opportunities that were provided by modern technology and proactive intelligence techniques, to detect it. During his presentation, Mr. Griffiths provided some concrete examples of various detection and risk management analysis techniques. He concluded his presentation with a description of the functions of the Firearms Smuggling Risk Assessment Software, which was developed as part of EU Council Decision on arms trafficking via air.
The presentations were followed by a very inter-active question and answers session.
The side event was chaired by Mr. Pierre Lapaque, Chief, Implementation Support Section, (UNODC).
28 - 31 March 2012 Uruguay
Uruguay Supports the Firearms Project
On March 28 to 31 during the Montevideo meeting, it has been raised and analyzed, in conjunction with the interagency committee, the need for a law on firearms in accordance with the Firearms Protocol. The draft law is currently under analysis by parliament and it criminalized the offences listed in the Protocol.
25 - 27 March 2012 Paraguay
Regulation of the Firearms Law in Paraguay
The Republic of Paraguay is working on the regulation of the firearms law, which is categorized as the most modern legislation in the region and presented to be in line with the legislation of Brazil and Argentina, strengthening the fight against illicit trafficking in firearms in the triple border. From the 25 th to 27 th March, there has been major progress with several organizations in Paraguay dealing with the thematic, including civil society, promoting cooperation and strengthening of internal capabilities.
22 March 2012
Joint OSCE, UNDP and UNODC mission to the Republic of Moldova
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI) of the Republic of Moldova requested assistance from OSCE and UNODC to assess the national implementation of the UN Firearms Protocol, OSCE Document on SALW, and UNSCR 1540. In line with the UNODC - OSCE Joint Action Plan 2011 - 2012, the representatives of both organizations planned a joint mission by identifying the relevant national counterparts and agreeing on the agenda and participation of experts.
The joint mission took place on 19-21 March. The agenda had three components: 1) review of the domestic export control legislation; 2) review of the national implementation of the Firearms Protocol; and 3) review of the implementation of the UNSCR 1540.
UNODC worked closely with representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice and General Prosecutor's Office to identify legislative gaps and challenges for the implementation of the provisions of the Firearms Protocol. UNODC provided recommendations for the harmonization of the domestic legislation with the Firearms Protocol.
The representatives of OSCE and UNODC held also meetings with the Minister of Interior and the Director of the Department for Multilateral Cooperation in the MFAEI
19 - 24 March 2012 Bolivia
Bolivia Draft Law on Firearms
From 19 to 24 March 2012, UNODC has been working actively with the inter-ministerial platform of the plural-national State of Bolivia. Bolivia's advance in the fight against illicit trafficking of firearms has been reflected in the draft law on "Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials", which has been partially approved by the parliament.