UN promotes women as forces of change in the combat against illicit trafficking in small arms in Latin America and Caribbean
Posted: Tuesday, 16 October 2012, New York | Author: United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs
On 25 September 2012, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) launched its publication “ Forces of Change: Profiles of Latin American and Caribbean Women in Combating Illicit Trafficking in Small Arms ” at the side event entitled “Women Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control”, hosted by the Honorable Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The publication - compiled by UNODA’s Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) - features and celebrates the experiences and skills of a diverse group of 58 women from national government security sectors, law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations working in the field of small arms control in the region. Women profiled in this publication contribute on a daily basis to the implementation of the UN 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
UNODA has continuously championed women as forces of change by providing States with the necessary tools to facilitate and sustain the incorporation of gender perspectives into small arms control and disarmament. At the launch, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, speaking on behalf of his Prime Minister, Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, noted that while most crimes are committed by young men, there was a tremendous economic, social and psychological burden on women. It was in this context that Trinidad and Tobago had embarked on an effort to address this unfortunate trend, and had led the responsibility for crime and security in the CARICOM region and had formulated a number of initiatives to address the problem from a regional perspective. He told the gathering “We are not promoting women for their own sake. We are promoting women because we believe our families will be better protected”. In her address, Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, noted that“[…] it is widely recognized that women have critical roles to play both in disarmament, in general, and in the elimination of the illicit trafficking in small arms. It is therefore our duty to ensure that we provide the necessary tools and training to empower them on this quest.” She went on to add “[…] it is my own personal mission to continue fostering disarmament expertise among women, including ‘in-house’ at UNODA and heed the calls made in [United Nations Security Council resolution] 1325 (2000).”
Mélanie Régimbal, Director of UNLIREC said “Working on this publication was important as we wanted to showcase and introduce to the world the contributions of these remarkable women ranging from those sitting in parliament to those protecting our streets and borders and from those at the forefront of healthcare to those women and in the back rooms advocating for small arms control: all of whom are forces of change dedicated to making our region a safer one”.
Action has also been taken by UNODA in the field through its regional Centre, in providing technical assistance to Member States aimed at promoting and encouraging the robust participation of women professionals in decision-making and the formulation of comprehensive strategies to combat illicit small arms trafficking. The cumulative effect of these efforts, together with other initiatives of the Centre, have resulted in a significant increase in participation of female professionals from armed forces, police, civilian ministries and civil society who are now well-equipped to engage in combating illicit trafficking in small arms at the local, national and regional levels.
For more information on United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, visit www.unlirec.org