2007/2008 Urban Violence – The Silent War of the Americas: Canadian Leadership Opportunity
Rebecca Comley, Justin Ferbey, Marc Fournier, Nicholas Gafuik, Benjamin Perrin
Advisor: Malcolm Rowe
Canada has recently signaled an intention to play a greater role in the Americas. If we truly wish to be a leader in the region, then we must address its most pressing challenge: widespread urban violence.
Unlawful killings, gang wars, shoot-outs with police, kidnappings, robbery and narco-trafficking are exacting terrible human, economic and social costs in the region. Latin America, with only 14% of the world’s population, accounts for 42% of firearms-related homicides in the world. Unfortunately, in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the police and military responsible for providing public security are unable or unwilling to perform that function.
Trade, human rights, and democratic practice in the region are all threatened by urban violence. There is also an insidious, direct link between drug gangs in the region and the traffic of illegal narcotics to Canada.
We recommend that Canada confront the silent war of urban violence in the Americas through:
- Improving local responses to urban violence by helping reform the police and other institutions
- Breaking the cycle of urban violence through grassroots, community-based programs
- Reducing a key driver of urban violence through stemming the flow of illegal narcotics