The Plurinational State of Bolivia Accedes to the Firearms Protocol

On 4th of September 2020, Bolivia deposited the ratification instrument of the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), becoming its 119th State Party.

Bolivia has gone along path to strengthen its legal and institutional framework and address the problem of the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms in a coherent and comprehensive manner. A landmark in this process was taken on September 2019, when the Plurinational Assembly approved accession to the Firearms Protocol – a process that finally completed last Friday with the deposit of the instrument of accession.

UNODC congratulates Bolivia for this important achievement.

UNODC and GFP’s assistance to Bolivia for accession to and implementation of the Firearms Protocol

Cooperation between the UNODC’s Global Firearms Programme (GFP) and the Plurinational State of Bolivia dates back to March 2012, when GFP made its first visit to the country. Since then, GFP has accompanied and supported the country in its efforts to strengthen its capacities to address these challenges, following Bolivia’s progress and raising awareness on the importance of adhering to the Protocol, and has continued steadily in these years.

Another crucial milestone in this process was achieved on September 8, 2013, when Bolivia promulgated, after a decade-long gestation, the Law No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials. Bolivia’s first comprehensive firearms legislation. UNODC’s The Global Firearms Programme is proud of having been part of this process, providing legislative assistance in drafting the Law No. 400, which is aligned with the Firearms Protocol and shows the country’s commitment to adhere to international standards on firearms control.

Implementation of the Firearms Protocol and technical assistance

Accession to the Protocol is an important step by Bolivia in the fight against illicit firearms trafficking and related crimes. As a State Party, Bolivia will participate as evaluating and evaluated country in the Review Mechanism for UNTOC and its Protocols, including the Firearms Protocol. Participating in the Review Mechanism will help to strengthen criminal justice system responses and cooperation in this area, as well as to identify assistance needs and support for their implementation.

UNODC’s GFP will continue to cooperate with the country in its efforts to strengthen its national arms control system, and its criminal justice response to counter illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms and its links to organised crime and foster international cooperation.

A way forward

With ratification comes implementation. GFP and Bolivia continue its cooperation and work together to jointly carry out new activities in the short and medium term. One of the main objectives now will be to effectively implement Law No. 400. GFP will also provide technical assistance to Bolivia to strengthen its arms control system to prevent diversion to the illicit circuit; strengthen the capacities of the authorities responsible for the detection, investigation and prosecution of arms trafficking; strengthen the registration, collection and analysis of data on firearms; and promote regional and international cooperation in criminal matters.

The Firearms Protocol is celebrating this year the 15th anniversary of its entry into force. UNODC continues to support its universalisation and effective implementation.

As a full member to the Protocol, Bolivia will also participate in the new mechanism established by the Conference of Parties to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, sharing its process and practices, and contributing as country under review, in the assessment and evaluation of the status of implementation of this important instrument by other parties. UNODC welcomes Bolivia in this endeavour.