UNLIREC delivers virtual seminar for Brazilian institutions on ‘measures to prevent armed violence against women’

27 July 2021 – The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with Sou da Paz Institute, and with financial help from the Canadian government, delivered a webinar entitled ‘Measures to prevent armed violence against women’. The seminar formed part of UNLIREC’s programme ‘Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control’, which aims to promote women’s participation and training in these areas.

The seminar was attended by closet o 50 people, the majority of whom were women, from different public bodies and civil society organisations interested in preventing armed violence against women. The virtual format of the seminar accommodated participants from across Brazil and from other countries.

The seminar began with an overview and analysis of armed violence against women, supported by regional and global statistics, with an emphasis on the use of firearms not only in femicides, but in any kind of violence against women, whether it be physical, sexual or psychological. It then went on to highlight that, in the context of gender violence, a weapon must be considered a risk factor, not only due to its potential to kill, but also to the fact that it can be used to threaten and suppress victims, making them more vulnerable.

UNLIREC also presented its regulatory study on the link between gender-based violence standards and small arms regulation and control standards, as well as the recommended solutions for addressing the problem in Brazil.

A national perspective and statistics on armed violence against women in Brazil were provided by Sou da Paz Institute and Valéria Scarance, Public Prosecutor and Coordinator of the Gender Department of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the State of São Paulo. Sou da Paz emphasised the lack of female representation in public policymaking and public security. They also remarked that, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, an average of five women were killed with a weapon every day in 2019. In her speech, Ms Scarance warned that weapons are instruments of power in men’s hands and that easy access to them increases the risk of femicide. She also pointed out that the official number of femicides in Brazil, which is quoted as being approximately 4,500 per year, is likely to be an underestimation.

Finally, it is vital to highlight the importance of this type of interinstitutional collaboration, which aligns weapon control and disarmament with the prevention of violence against women.