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Sub-Regional Meetings of the Community of Practitioners against Firearms Trafficking and Related Crimes for Latin America and the Caribbean

Panama, December 17, 2021. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), through its Global Programme on Firearms, organized two Sub-Regional Meetings of the community of practitioners against firearms trafficking and related crimes for Latin America and the Caribbean during the week of December 13-17.

The meeting with Latin American specialists brought together representatives from 14 countries, while the Caribbean specialists came from 18 countries.

The opening ceremony of the event for Latin America was attended by the Minister of Security, Juan Manuel Pino; Melissa Flynn, UNODC Regional Representative in charge; Kurt Leiseder, Cooperation Officer of the European Union Delegation in Panama and Simonetta Grassi, Head of the UNODC Global Firearms Programme.

At the inauguration of the meeting, which brought together professionals from the Caribbean, were Jonathan Riggs Tapia, Secretary General of the Ministry of Security of Panama; Callixtus Joseph, Regional Coordinator of the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CICSO); Callixtus Joseph, Regional Coordinator of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

for Crime and Security (IMPACS) of CARICOM; Jane Felber, Policy Officer, Conventional Disarmament and Arms Control Division of the German Federal Foreign Office; and officials from the UNODC Global Firearms Programme.  

According to the UNODC Global Study on Homicide in 2019 both sub-regions are the most affected by homicides committed with firearms.

Illicit firearms are not only tools for violence and crime, but also their trafficking moves millions of dollars out of state control annually, and can contribute to the financing of other crimes. UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme, supports Member States in addressing the problem of illicit firearms manufacturing and trafficking through a holistic and comprehensive approach.  In addition, it assists Member States in the effective implementation of the Firearms Protocol supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Technical assistance measures to Member States provided by the Global Firearms Program include:

- Support in the improvement of firearms regulations and legislation; and the development of public policies;


- Supporting the implementation of firearms regulatory and control frameworks;


 Strengthen criminal justice capacities for the investigation and prosecution of illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms and related crimes;

- Promote sub-regional, regional and international cooperation and the exchange of information and expertise through communities of practice;


- Support the collection and analysis of data on arms trafficking routes and related and associated crimes, to strengthen knowledge about this phenomenon and strengthen public policies.


"All these areas of work, of course, are based on the experience, expertise and commitment of professionals like yourselves. Firearms trafficking is a transnational crime in itself.  Investigating trafficking cases almost always requires one form of international cooperation or another," Melissa Flynn emphasized at the opening event.

Some of the topics discussed at this international meeting included actual cases on the crime of firearms trafficking and related offenses.