For greater safety of all citizens - BiH destroys 1,972 pieces of small arms and light weapons

September 21, 2021

A total of 1,972 pieces of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) were destroyed by the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday, 18 September.

The event took place at the Jelšingrad smelter in Banja Luka and represents a continuation of efforts to increase public safety and security, and diminish the risk of SALW proliferation. It was conducted by the SALW Coordination Board of Bosnia and Herzegovina, police agencies, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, SEESAC, and the European Union. The SALW was collected by the police agencies through a range of law enforcement activities and some of the weapons were voluntarily surrendered by citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The proliferation of small arms and light weapons encourages violence and crime in society and also can threaten peace and security. In order to help ensure that the citizens of BiH as well as in the region and the EU live in a secure environment, the EU has made control of small arms and light weapons and combating the illicit arms trade a security priority,” stated Biljana Barović, Political Advisor at the Office of the European Union Special Representative in BiH. “This is also a priority set out in the Analytical Report of the Opinion of the European Commission on BiH's application for EU membership,” Barović added.

“With the support of the European Union, and assistance provided through SEESAC, UNDP BiH in cooperation with Small Arms and Light Weapons Coordination Board of BiH organized the event of SALW disposal where law enforcement agencies had an opportunity to destruct illicit SALW collected in the previous period. The synergy of efforts among all involved partners symbolizes a commitment to providing a sustainable solution to the problem of confiscated illicit and surplus firearms. With this event, we want to emphasize our commitment at UNDP to support BiH institutions in development their capacities stipulated under the scope of SALW control Roadmap 2024,” stated Slobodan Tadić, Head of the Justice and Security Sector, UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

With the support of SEESAC, funded by the European Union, more than 20,000 pieces of SALW, parts and components have been destroyed by the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities since 2017. This was achieved within the previously implemented Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2356 and currently implemented Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/2111 in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South-East Europe. Today’s action represents another step for Bosnia and Herzegovina towards the achievement of goals set in the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)/firearms and their ammunition in the Western Balkans (Roadmap 2024).