Over 1,300 weapons destroyed in Belize using destruction equipment  provided by UNLIREC

From 15–19 October 2012, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) assisted the Government of Belize in the destruction of 427 surplus, obsolete and confiscated weapons from both the Defense and Police Force for a total of 1,329 weapons destroyed from May to September 2012. 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 be diverted to criminal networks. The weapons destruction activity was conducted in accordance with UN International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS).

All weapons were cut using a set of hydraulic shears donated by UNLIREC to the Government of Belize in May 2012, which included the training of 6 members of the Belize Police Department (BPD) on its use and maintenance. The destruction process included monitoring and verification by Belizean authorities and UNLIREC representatives.

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

The Office for Disarmament Affairs’ Regional Disarmament Centres, which includes UNLIREC, serves over 135 countries worldwide and assists them in the implementation of arms control and disarmament programmes, such as the implementation of the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms. Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer at (cowl@unlirec.org)

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