UNLIREC assists Belize to strengthen capacity in combating illicit firearms trafficking and destroying obsolete ammunition

From 25 February to 8 March 2013, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) – in close collaboration with the Government of Belize – conducted a 10-day training course to combat illicit firearms trafficking for Belizean security and justice sector officials.

The Inter-Institutional Training Course on Combating the Illicit Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives (IITC), the first of its kind in Belize, was held at the Police Academy in Belmopan and resulted in the training of more than 40 law enforcement officers and justice operators. Course participants bolstered their ability to carry out interactive firearms investigative techniques in keeping with international standards and best practices. Participants received specialized training in the following areas: technical aspects of weapons and ammunition identification, intelligence gathering and crime scene management, tracing and preparation of evidence in criminal proceedings, as well as practical disarmament measures, such as weapons destruction and stockpile management. The course also covered cross-cutting issues related to the use of force, gender awareness and child protection.

Since 2004, UNLIREC has trained over 3,500 law enforcement officers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, strengthening the capacities of States in the region to address the problem of the proliferation of and trafficking in firearms and ammunition.

On this occasion, UNLIREC also provided technical assistance to the Government of Belize for the destruction of more than 15,000 rounds of surplus small arms ammunition from 7-8 March 2013. The destruction of ammunition was carried out in collaboration with the Belizean Defence and Police Forces using UNLIREC’s patented SAABT (Small Arms Ammunition Burning Tank). In 2012, UNLIREC joined forces with the Belize Police and Defence Force in destroying more than 1,300 obsolete and seized firearms. All of the destruction activities contribute to reducing the risk of both diversion and unplanned explosions at munitions sites.

These activities, aimed at strengthening the capacity of the security forces and reducing armed violence in Belize and the region, form part of UNLIREC’s Firearms Assistance Package for Caribbean States. The activities carried out in Belize were made possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of the United States of America.

UNLIREC serves 33 countries in the region in assisting them in the development of disarmament policies and the implementation of international disarmament instruments, most notably 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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