More than half of murders in Bosnia and Herzegovina is committed by firearms, of which 95% by illegal weapons!

A broad campaign under the slogan “Respect Life, Not Weapons” has started and is being implemented simultaneously throughout an entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a response to a great number of incidents caused by firearms in recent past with tragic consequences.  The goal of the campaign is public awareness raising on dangers of ownership of weapons and serious consequences on the wellbeing and life of people as well as the call for tangible actions in order to prevent (mis)use of weapons as well as to prevent and lower the number of illegal weapons’ possession in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Every sixth death in Bosnia and Herzegovina associated with the use of weapons is a consequence of an accident while more than half of murders in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been committed by firearms, of which illegal weapons have been used in 95% of all cases. It is particularly worrisome that murders linked with firearms are most often committed in private areas with every other murder taking place in a house, an apartment or a courtyard of the victim.  Murders committed within families comprise nearly 1/3 of all murders, meaning that every fourth person murdered in Bosnia and Herzegovina was murdered by a family member. Nearly 40% of murders of women were committed by firearms”  - these are some of the facts highlighted in the general awareness raising campaign “Respect life, Not Weapons”.    

The campaign is implemented by Republika Srpska Ministry of Interior, all 10 cantonal ministries of interior in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Police of Brčko District BiH, with continuous information sharing with and support by the Small Arms and Light Weapons Coordination Board in BiH, all in cooperation with and technical support provided by UNDP in BiH.  

The campaign in the coming period will focus on topics of femicide, responsible SALW ownership and voluntary surrender of SALW. The campaign also highlights the fact that unlawful possession of firearms represents a significant risk for the security of citizens of BiH and calls for surrender of illegal SALW.

Legislation allows for surrender of weapons and ammunition in illegal possession. Citizens can anonymously contact competent police agencies by calling 122 within the official place of his/her residence in order to receive more information on voluntary surrender of SALW.

The campaign is supported through the project “Prevention and Illicit Arms Reduction in Bosnia and Herzegovina” financed by Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, United Kingdom and Norway, supported by the European Union, through Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) implemented by UNDP in BiH.

All interested stakeholders need to contact relevant police agencies for more details on the campaign.