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Course on investigation and prosecution of firearms-related criminal offenses in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, September 17, 2021. The UNODC Global Firearms Programme delivered the course on investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses related to firearm in which 19 officials from the Attorney General's Office, the Ministry of Security, the Ministry of Defense, the National Directorate of Investigation and Intelligence, the Customs Administration and the Police Directorate of Investigation participated.

The opening ceremony was attended by José Vila del Castillo, Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Héctor Osorio, for the General Coordination of the Deputy Government of the Cabinet of Prevention, Security and Defense of the Republic of Honduras and Simonetta Grassi, Chief of the Global Programme on Firearms of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

"UNODC is pleased to continue supporting public institutions in Honduras through the technical support of our experts and to be able to participate in such an important issue as the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses related to firearms," said José Vila del Castillo, UNODC Regional Representative.

He pointed out that "Honduras has made significant progress in the area of security and has observed the incidence of firearms in the rates of violence and homicides in the country, identifying the problem of the high circulation of illicit weapons coming from previous conflicts, those trafficked through different routes or unauthorized border points and the easy access to these weapons by gangs, organized crime and drug trafficking".

The Regional Representative assured that the Central American country "has expressed the need to have a comprehensive arms control strategy that allows for the effective reduction of illicit trafficking flows and establishes preventive measures to avoid access to firearms by criminals".

For his part, he thanked the UNODC for the accompaniment offered to the country since 2019 when the government of Honduras made the request for technical assistance, "this agency responded immediately to that call, the Global Firearms Program made its first visit in less than a month and since then we have not stopped working".

Simonetta Grassi was pleased with the course and thanked the Honduran authorities for their cooperation, as well as the European Union as a donor of this initiative.

"The figures of homicides committed with firearms are red alarms because they are evidence of the violence and criminality that the region suffers", said the Head of the UNODC Global Firearms Programme and added that the response of the program she leads to this problem has a comprehensive approach that includes the development of strong legislative and institutional frameworks such as the implementation of preventive measures and control of legal weapons so that they do not become illegal and also an efficient response of the criminal justice system".

The objective of this training was to strengthen the knowledge of national law enforcement officers and to promote higher standards in the investigation and prosecution of illicit firearms trafficking and related crimes.

According to the UNODC Global Study on Homicide 2019, in Latin America firearms are closely related to the commission of violent and property crime, ranking as the region with the highest overall levels of firearms incidence on homicides.