Building capacity and promoting public security: UNLIREC supports the destruction of arms and ammunition in the Dominican Republic

From 12 to 16 November 2012, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) assisted the Armed Forces of the Dominican Republic in the destruction of 1,400 surplus firearms and more than 300,000 rounds of small arms ammunition (approximately 8 tons). The destruction activities were conducted using UNLIREC´s Standard Operating Procedures, which are in accordance with the UN International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) and the UN International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG). The destruction process included monitoring and verification by Dominican authorities and UNLIREC representatives. These initial destruction activities set the stage for a robust agenda of technical cooperation between UNLIREC and the Dominican Republic in 2013.

“The periodic destruction of weapons and ammunition constitutes one of the most effective means of ensuring that they do not make their way back onto the streets and/or are not diverted to criminal networks” said UNLIREC Senior Technical Officer Rodolfo Gamboa.

On this occasion the weapons were destroyed by smelting through a public-private partnership overseen by the Government of the Dominican Republic, in cooperation with UNLIREC. UNLIREC has also donated to the Government a small arms ammunition and pyrotechnics burning tan, which was used to destroy the 300,000 rounds of ammunition. UNLIREC will continue to work with the Ministry of the Armed Forces in early 2013 to destroy thousands more weapons and rounds of ammunition.

The technical assistance was made possible thanks to a grant from the US Department of State´s Office for Weapons Removal and Abatement. It forms part of a broader UNLIREC Caribbean Assistance Programme, which began in 2010, and is being carried out in thirteen CARICOM countries with the support of the United States and Canada. Since September 2010, UNLIREC has assisted the Government of the Dominican Republic in the development of a National Action Plan on Stockpile Management and Firearms Destruction, in securing of stockpile facilities through the provision of international standard padlocks and a set of hydraulic shears for the periodic destruction of weapons. UNLIREC has also assisted in training law enforcement officials to better combat illicit firearms trafficking and in providing recommendations on legal reforms and updates to the national firearms act. The latter aims to bring Dominican legislation in line with international agreements and reduce loopholes that can be exploited by illicit traffickers in firearms, ammunition and explosives.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.)

Please direct all inquiries to: Ms. Carina Van Vliet, Political Affairs Officer (vanvliet@unlirec.org).

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