NEWS AND EVENTS
The Global Firearms Programme delivers a training on "Investigating and Prosecuting Firearms Offences" in Niger
From 12 to 16 December, the Global Firearms Programme (GFP) organized together with the National Commission for small arms and light weapons (CNCCAI) from Niger, a five-day training course on the investigation and prosecution of firearms related offences in Niamey.
The training which was funded by Japan and Denmark under the UNODC Sahel Programme, had a total of 25 participants from different institutions including: Police, Gendarmerie, Military, Water and Forest brigade, Customs, investigative judges of the Niger specialized jurisdiction on terrorism and organized crime, prosecutors, members of the central drug office and civil society representatives. It was opened by Mr. Maiga Youssoufa, President of the CNCCAI and Ms. Simonetta Grassi, Head of the GFP who both underlined the importance of the training in order to strengthen the fight against the illicit proliferation of and trafficking in firearms for Niger and their links to terrorism and organized crime.
The training was based on a combination of theoretical and practical sessions. It included the presentation of the international legal framework relating to firearms and a session on human rights and its links to the investigation and prosecution of offences. The presentations also aimed to underline the good practices for the identification, classification and tracing of firearms but also to impart further knowledge on investigation techniques, crime scene management, and the exchange of information and use of the international database on firearms.
The training also allowed participants from different professional backgrounds to gain and deepen insights into the rules for international cooperation and mutual legal assistance. The workshop was particularly interactive and participants were engaged in the discussions and were able to learn not only from the trainers but also from each other.
UNODC advocates for increased data collection in relation to firearms trafficking among South Eastern European jurisdictions
From 5 to 6 December 2016, UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme, participated in the 6th Regional Meeting of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Commissions which was organised by the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) in Budva, Montenegro. The objective of the meeting was to foster the regional information exchange process on SALW, bringing together representatives of SALW Commissions from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Serbia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
UNODC seized this opportunity to stress the importance of monitoring illicit arms flows through comprehensive data collection and analysis in relation to firearms trafficking, to present its 2015 Study on Firearms [ hyperlink to the study] and to explain the ongoing review of the data collection methodology, taking into account target 16.4 of the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The largely unknown size, patterns and routes of illicit trafficking in firearms constitutes an important challenge for national authorities in the development of appropriate and efficient strategies at policy and operational level to counter their illicit trafficking and related forms of organized crime. One of UNODC's 2015 Study on Firearms goals was to shed some light on this problem, through the collection and analysis of data on seized and traced firearms, their parts and components and ammunition. UNODC was mandated to continue to collect firearms trafficking related data on a regular basis, in cooperation with Member States and relevant organizations and to support the monitoring of the new UN SDG 16.4, which calls on States to, "by 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows […] and combat all forms of organized crime".
In September 2016, UNODC continued this work by initiating an inclusive process to review the data collection methodology through an expert group meeting on the subject taking into account recent developments regarding target 16.4 of the Agenda for Sustainable Development with a view to launch a new data collection initiative in early 2017.
* References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)
Legal Workshop on the Legislative Framework of Firearms and Ammunition in Chad
From 29 November to 1 December 2016, UNODC organized in N'Djamena, Chad, a three-day workshop on legal drafting relating to the legislative framework of Firearms and ammunition in the country.
The workshop was aimed to promote adherence and implementation of the Firearms Protocol and to explain the synergies between all the international and regional instruments relating to the subject. UNODC also presented a legislative assessment and a gap analysis of the national legislation and provided legal drafting support, notably through the presentation of a model law.
The workshop brought together around thirteen participants such as members of the National police, the General Assembly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, lawyers, etc. Mr. Thomas Gebauer, Counsellor/Chargé d'Affaires for the Embassy of Germany in Chad and Mr. Didier Perardel, Technical Operations Manager of MAG International in Chad were also invited by UNODC to attend the workshop.
The legal workshop was developed within the framework of the UNODC's Global Firearms Programme and the Sahel Programme, funded by Japan and Denmark.
UNODC strengthens the criminal justice response of Malian law enforcement and criminal justice officers to firearms trafficking and other firearms related crimes
From 28 November to 2 December 2016, UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme, continued its series of trainings to strengthen the criminal justice response of West and Central African law enforcement and criminal justice officers to firearms trafficking and other firearms related crimes. Having organised similar training sessions this year in N'Djamena, Chad, and in Nouakchott, Mauritania, this third training course on the investigation and prosecution of firearms related offences took place in the "Ecole de Maintien de la Paix Alioune Blondin BEYE" in Bamako, Mali. The training was opened by H.E. the Minister of Security and Civilian Protection, Mr. Salif Traoré, and closed by the President of the Malian National Commission on the Fight against Small Arms and Light Weapons, General de Brigade Coulibaly Kani Diabate, who both underlined the importance of the training and the fight against the illicit proliferation of and trafficking in firearms for Mali.
During the five-day training, 22 Malian officers of the different law enforcement agencies (such as the police, gendarmerie, rangers, water and forest brigade and customs), members of the Malian criminal justice apparatus (such as investigative judges of the Malian specialised judicial jurisdiction on terrorism and organised crime and prosecutors), members of the central drug office as well as selected civil society representatives were trained on the identification and classification of firearms, measures to prevent their trafficking, crime scene management, intelligence management, investigation techniques and firearms tracing. The training also served to strengthen understanding of the main legal instruments on combatting transnational organized crime including the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementing Firearms Protocol. Mali ratified the UNTOC in April 2002 and was globally the first country to become State Party to the Firearms Protocol after ratification in May 2002. An additional focus was set on exploring and addressing opportunities and challenges regarding international cooperation in criminal matters at the level of the police as well as the judiciary.
Participants benefitted from the expertise and experience of several international and regional training facilitators, including from Burkina Faso, Canada and Niger, staff of the UNODC and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) as well as the National Central Bureau of Interpol.
Based on a combination of theoretical and practical sessions, this inter-institutional training provided participants an insight into all steps of an effective criminal justice response to arms trafficking and allowed them to gain and deepen insights into the roles and responsibilities of the different authorities of the national criminal justice apparatus and to exchange on their respective expertise and experiences.
The training course was developed under the capacity building pillar of the Global Firearms Programme, carried out in the framework of UNODC's Sahel Programme and supported by the Governments of Denmark and Japan.
Strengthening the criminal justice response in Mauritania through training on investigation and prosecution of firearms related crimes
From 7 to 11 November 2016, UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme, organised a training course on investigation and prosecution of firearms related crimes in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
During the five-day training, 29 national law enforcement and judicial officials as well as selected members of parliament and civil society representatives were trained on the identification and classification of arms, measures to prevent trafficking in firearms, crime scene management, investigation techniques and firearms tracing. The training also served to strengthen understanding of the main legal instruments on combatting transnational organized crime including the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementing Firearms Protocol, which are both adhered to by Mauritania.
An additional focus was set on exploring and addressing opportunities and challenges regarding international cooperation in criminal matters at the level of the police as well as the judiciary. Based on a combination of theoretical and practical sessions, the training further allowed participants from different professional backgrounds to gain and deepen insights into the roles and responsibilities of the different authorities of the national criminal justice apparatus and to exchange on their respective expertise and experiences.
The training course was funded by Japan and developed under the capacity building pillar of the Global Firearms Programme within the framework of UNODC's Sahel Programme.
Monitoring firearms trafficking and illicit financial flows in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals
On 20 October 2016, at the 8th Session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto in Vienna, UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP), in collaboration with the Governments of Germany and Switzerland, the European Union and the Small Arms Survey, organized a side event to discuss the monitoring of firearms trafficking and illicit financial flows in the context of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and in regard to target 16.4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).
UNSDG Target 16.4, invites States by 2030 "to significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime". Therefore representatives of Germany, Switzerland and the European Union underlined the importance of data collection and exchange of information among stakeholders in order to implement the 2030 Agenda.
The event took shape in the form of a panel discussion which addressed various topics linked to monitoring illicit trafficking. Mr. Kristopher Carlson, a Senior Researcher from the Small Arms Survey, discussed the organization's surveys and data collection on the legal and illicit trade of weapons and introduced its "Global Partnership on Small Arms" an online platform to engage stakeholders and exchange information, experience, and knowledge on the fight against illicit arms trafficking.
Ms. Simonetta Grassi, Head of the Global Firearms Programme, presented the main highlights and recommendations of the expert group meeting on data collection on illicit firearms trafficking organized in September 2016 with regard to the improvement of UNODC's data collection and analysis methodology. Drawing from the experience of the 2015 Firearms Study and taking into account Target 16.4 and the proposed indicator 16.4.2, the meeting created a platform to explore synergies on data collection efforts to monitor the UNSDGs.
Finally, Ms. Angela Me, Chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch of UNODC, explained the process of identifying targets within the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the direct link of target 16.4 in the fight against organized crime, emphasizing that it covers not only arms, but also illicit financial flows. She also stressed the difficulty in monitoring and measuring this type of indicators.
UNODC is currently revising its illicit firearms trafficking data collection questionnaire and is seeking to integrate elements that would assist States to monitor and comply with SDG target 16.4. These activities are part of UNODC's efforts on supporting data collection and analysis and promoting information sharing and cooperation on firearms trafficking and related crimes which will be funded by the EU.
UNODC organizes with the UK and RAND a side event to the 8 th COP about web-based arms trafficking
On Wednesday 19 October 2016, during the 8 th Conference of the State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto, UNODC's Global Firearms Programme and the Global Cybercrime Programme, organized with the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom and Rand Europe, a nonprofit research organization, a side event on the illegal firearms trade through the hidden web.
The main objective of the side event was to present the scope and expected results of the research initiated by RAND Europe and the University of Manchester on the subject, and to raise awareness on the issue. Indeed, in UNODC's 2015 Firearms Study, one of the modalities reported by States, particularly in Europe, was the use of the Internet for trafficking of firearms and the use of parcel services for their delivery.
The side event brought together around 60 participants. Different experts in the area were invited to share their knowledge and expertise. Mr. Tofik Murshudlu, Chief of UNODC's Implementation Support Section, Organized Crime Branch, opened the event and reminded of the continuing threat of illegal trafficking in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition to security and public safety. The event was then chaired by Mr. David Hall, from the UK Permanent Mission, who underlined the interest of UK's national police on this subject.
Following the opening remarks, Neil Walsh, Chief of the Global Cybercrime Programme, provided an explanation of the concept of dark web and presented the TOR browser. Some practical aspects were shown to the participants such as the payment of transactions with bitcoins.
Giacomo Persi, research leader at RAND, explained the organization's joint research with the University of Manchester aimed at exploring the illegal trade in firearms and explosives on the hidden web. Their research approach combines different methodologies such as document review, expert interviews, primary data collection through web crawling and scraping techniques etc.
Simonetta Grassi, Head of the Global Firearms Programme, emphasized UNODC's role in the fight against this type of illicit trade. She explained how UNODC will collaborate with RAND in this initiative by assisting in the analysis of collected data, identifying technical assistance needs, and collecting legal materials from Member States among others. She also noted how these types of initiative were closely linked to UNODC's data collection and analysis mandate on firearms.
In order to effectively tackle organized crime and firearms trafficking it is crucial that criminal justice systems, including the law enforcement sector, address and anticipate new trends, routes and patterns in firearms trafficking. UNODC therefore considers that web based trafficking must be part of these efforts, where it is on-going, but also where it could grow and develop and that data and analysis based on reliable evidence are essential to addressing the complex nature of this problem.
Training Course in Chad on Investigation and Prosecution of Firearms Trafficking
From 3 to 7 October 2016, UNODC organized in N'Djamena, Chad, a five day training of trainers on investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking in partnership with the Chadian national Police. The training was opened by the Prosecutor General and brought together national experts such as judges, members of the national police, prosecutors and anti-terrorist authorities. Experts from countries in the West African sub-region, including Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal also participated as facilitators.
During the training, UNODC's experts and national officials explored various investigative techniques, reviewed the legal grounds for prosecution of illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, analysed trafficking cases, discussed about cooperation and information sharing, and engaged in firearms identification exercises. The group also addressed challenges in dealing with complex transnational cases and their links to organized crime and or other serious crimes.
The participants received for instance practical information on conducting firearms tracing, on engaging in international cooperation for the purpose of obtaining relevant and admissible evidence and on crime scene investigation, search and seizure.
The course was developed within the framework of the UNODC's Global Firearms Programme and the Sahel Programme, funded by Japan and Denmark.
UNODC assists Burkina Faso in the drafting of a new law on firearms
From 22 to 24 September 2016, UNODC organized a legal drafting workshop in Ouagadougou where national experts revised and discussed together with the Global Firearms Programme the findings of the legislative assessment conducted on the national legislative framework and elaborated together a new draft law relating to the trafficking and illicit manufacturing of firearms in Burkina Faso.
The workshop was organized in partnership with the National Commission against the proliferation of light weapons (CNLPAL). It aimed to promote the implementation of UNTOC and its Firearms Protocol and to support regional harmonization efforts, through the provision of a tailored legislative advice and legal drafting support.
The participants were members of the government, members of the National Commission and the High Authority for the Control of Weapons and their use (HACIAU), members from the military forces, the national police, and civil society.
At the end of the workshop a draft law was proposed and discussed based on the analysis of the legal recommendations made by UNODC and the discussions with the national experts.
Joint Meeting on firearms with the Flemish Peace Institute at UNOV
The Global Firearms Programme organized a meeting on firearms together with a delegation of the Flemish Peace Institute, an independent body dedicated to peace research, and the Committee for Foreign Policy of the Flemish Parliament, at UNOV on 20 September 2016.
The visit of the Flemish Peace Institute to the Vienna International Center was part of a three-days visit to Vienna with the aim to discuss with international institutions responsible for the monitoring of arms trade, the promotion of disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy and nuclear materials.
The meeting's objective was to enhance contact and exchange views with civil society organizations on matters related to firearms, especially in Belgium. Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, was invited to give an introduction as to the general mandate and the activities organized by UNODC.
Simonetta Grassi, Head of the Global Firearms Programme, presented the work and activities of the Programme and provided an introduction to the Firearms Protocol and other related international instruments and their practical implementation measures. The group discussed in particular the methodology and findings of the UNODC Firearms Study of 2015 and the importance of collecting and analysing firearms related data, with a view to detect and monitor illicit arms flows, also in the light of the recent terrorist attacks.
Finally, the parties expressed their interest for closer cooperation to enhance judicial responses to firearms trafficking and to improve the national records in Belgium.
31 August 2016
Training Workshop for Gulf Countries on the International Legal Framework and the Firearms Protocol
UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) organized a training workshop for Gulf Countries on the international legal framework and the United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition (Firearms Protocol), in Abu Dhabi from 29 to 31 August 2016.
The training workshop was aimed at providing practitioners with an introduction to the Firearms Protocol and other related international instruments and its practical implementation measures.The training also addressed the issue of firearms data collection and analysis and presented the methodology and findings of the UNODC Firearms Study of 2015 and its upcoming initiatives.
Participants to the workshop expressed interest to establish closer links to the GFP, and to jointly explore the need and utility of creating a database on seized firearms, as well as to engage in training of trainers activities and to set up a regional group of experts on investigations related to firearms (including forensic evidence) in order to build a regional system approach.
The workshop was funded together with the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Legal Workshops on the Legislative Framework of Firearms and Ammunition in Mali and Niger
Because of the growing threat of terrorism, illicit trafficking of firearms has become one of the main preoccupations of West African countries. To meet this threat, several States from the region have decided to review their domestic legislation with the technical support from UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP).
Under this framework, the GFP together with its partners organized two workshops on legal drafting relating to the legislative framework of firearms and ammunition in Mali and Niger from 8 to 12 August 2016.
The first workshop took place on 8-9 August 2016 in Bamako, and it was organized in partnership with the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) and the National Commission to fight against the Proliferation of Light Weapons (CNLPAL). The second workshop took place in Niamey on 11-12 August in partnership with the Nigerien National Commission for the Collection and Control of illicit arms (CNCCAI).
The workshops aimed at reviewing the international legal framework on firearms as well as clarifying the interaction between different relevant instruments, such as the Arms Trade Treaty and the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons. Experts made presentations on the specific requirements of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Firearms Protocol and on their links to national legislation. Together with the participants, gaps and possible solutions were analysed in the provisions of the current legislation.
At the end of both workshops a draft law was proposed and discussed based on the analysis of the legal recommendations made by UNODC/UNREC and the discussions with the national experts.
The legal workshops were developed within the framework of the UNODC's Sahel Programme and funded by Japan and Denmark. More legislative assistance activities will follow under this Programme.
UNODC participates in the destruction of 25,000 firearms in Argentina
On 12 August 2016, the National Agency for Controlled Materials (Anmac - former RENAR) acting under the authority of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, carried out the destruction of 25,000 firearms from crime. The material was stored in court deposits in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Mendoza.
The event, which occurred in the Tenasis steel plant in the city of Campana, province of Buenos Aires, was supervised by the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Germán Garavano, and the head of Anmac, Natalia Gambaro, accompanied by the Minister of Security, Patricia Bullirch, the Regional Prosecutor of Rosario, Jorge Baclini, the UNODC Coordinator of the Global Firearms Program for Latin America and the Caribbean, Lucía Gómez Cónsoli; the civil society and authorities from the various security forces in the country.
Firearms were destroyed by the method of crushing and smelting, recognized as one of the most effective and less polluting methods which guarantees the total destruction of firearms, preventing the reuse of its parts and components.
This preventive measure by Anmac - to quickly store and to destroy firearms seized and confiscated located in different judicial deposits in the country, in order to avoid diversion to the illegal market - is one of the many actions being taken by the agency to combat and eradicate the illicit trafficking in firearms, their parts and components.
This event is also part of the capacity building work conducted by UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP): the GFP supports Member States in establishing comprehensive regimes to prevent and combat illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms, including the collection, save storage and disposal of seized and collected weapons, in line with international legal instruments and standards.
To read the article in Portuguese please visit: http://www.unodc.org/lpo-brazil/pt/frontpage/2016/08/unodc-participa-da-destruicao-de-25-mil-armas-de-fogo.html
To read the article in Spanish please visit: http://www.unodc.org/lpo-brazil/es/frontpage/2016/08/unodc-participa-de-la-destruccion-de-25-000-armas-de-fuego.html
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.