WASHINGTON, USA – The US government is extending its partnership with a global humanitarian organisation to reduce armed violence and organised crime worsened by the diversion and proliferation of illicit weapons in Latin America.
UK-headquartered humanitarian, development and peacebuilding charity MAG (Mines Advisory Group) has been awarded $895,000 in its latest agreement with the US State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement to conduct activities to secure weapons and ammunition stockpiles in Paraguay.
The programme launch follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between MAG and Dirección de Material Bélico (DIMABEL). MAG’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Adam Komorowski, and Director of DIMABEL, Div. Gen. Melanio Salomón Servín Aquino, signed the MoU on January 15, 2024.
MAG has been active in Latin America since 2017, delivering projects to secure weapons and ammunition in Peru and Ecuador. To date, MAG has destroyed more than 900 US tons of munitions, delivered training to more than 300 participants from national authorities, and improved security and safety at more than 40 weapons and munition facilities in Peru and Ecuador.
Komorowski said: “Keeping stockpiles of weapons and ammunition secure and safe is essential to curb armed violence in the region.”
State Department official Karen Chandler, director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, said:
“WRA is happy to support the expansion of MAG operations in Latin America. The achievements seen in Peru and Ecuador have been invaluable to enhancing security in a region where small arms, light weapons and ammunition can cause devastation and destruction to people and property.”
The latest partnership with the WRA in Paraguay will see MAG provide infrastructure upgrades to weapons and ammunition stores and destroy stockpiles of weapons, ammunition and explosive chemicals to reduce the risk of diversion and minimize the likelihood of unplanned explosions.
MAG experts will also deliver training sessions on ammunition storekeeping, explosive ordnance disposal and weapons marking to key personnel. Training will strengthen Paraguay’s national capacity for conventional weapons destruction and ensuring long-term sustainability.
Komorowski said: “We are looking forward to working with DIMABEL to take practical measures to tackle diversion, proliferation, and the misuse of firearms and ammunition in Paraguay. By destroying surplus and unsafe stockpiles of ammunition, Paraguay will reduce the threat of unplanned explosions at munitions sites. The support of the US government is key to implementing these measures to improve safety and security in the region. We are thankful for their partnership and support to expand our already successful operations in Peru and Ecuador into Paraguay.”