On 27 October, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) organized a side event on armed private security in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Mr. Christoph Anton, Counsellor from the Permanent Mission of Germany moderated the panel. In his opening remarks, he highlighted the important role of private security companies in the region. Mr. Anton encouraged Member States to support the work of UNLIREC and DCAF in order to extend their joint project, “Strengthening Oversight and Building Capacities for Small Arms Control and Non-proliferation in the Private Security Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean”, to more Latin American countries.
Ms. Mélanie Régimbal, Director of UNLIREC and Mr. Jean-Michel Rousseau, Programme Manager from DCAF, introduced their joint study on armed private security. The study aimed at presenting an updated picture of the private security sector, as well as the challenges the sector faces in terms of governance and small arms control. The newly gained knowledge is intended to support policy makers, national authorities and industry actors in their efforts to strengthen their approaches to private security oversight and regulation in line with international standards and best practices.
H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Peru, stressed that private security regulation and oversight, as well as transparency and accountability, are of great importance in citizens’ security. Therefore, UNLIREC’s promotion of good governance is important for Latin America and the Caribbean. Together with national authorities, the Centre trains personnel of private sector companies and raises awareness on the risks and threats posed by inadequate management of small arms and ammunition.
Mr. Roberto Mendez from the Cost Rican Ministry of Public Security, pointed out that private sector companies need incentives to cooperate with Governments. Furthermore, Mr. Mendez introduced Costa Rica’s roadmap to reduce the amount of weapons used and highlighted the good cooperation with UNLIREC and DCAF.
Text by Julia Bhattacharjee