Bosnia and Herzegovina Destroys 1,200 Pieces Small Arms with Support of the EU
On 30 June, 2014, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina destroyed over 1,200 small arms in a steel mill in Banja Luka. The spread of small arms and light weapons (SALW) continues to affect the security of the Western Balkans, as well as South East Europe (SEE) at large. SEESAC has been working to support stakeholders at all levels in curbing the proliferation of illicit SALW since 2002, and will be coordinating a regional, coordinated effort for International Gun Destruction Day on July 9, 2014.
As part of the lead-up to International Gun Destruction Day, and with the support of SEESAC, BiH destroyed weapons on 30 June that had been collected across the country over the last few months as part of the UNDP-supported, joint Choose Life without Weapons campaign. With this latest effort, the total number of weapons destroyed in BiH in 2014 is at almost 6,000 pieces.
Destructions like this are made possible with the generous support of the European Union and the EU Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP, in “Support of SEESAC Disarmament and Arms Control Activities in South East Europe in the framework of the EU Strategy to Combat the Illicit Accumulation and Trafficking of SALW and their ammunition”, dated 9 December 2013.
SEESAC Coordinator Dr. Ivan Zveržhanovski has noted that the “illicit proliferation of weapons goes beyond [the] borders of a country. It is a regional and a global problem”, again reiterating the need for coordinated regional efforts such as the International Gun Destruction Day, which will see destructions taking place across the Western Balkans.
For more on how the EU Support of SEESAC Disarmament and Arms Control Activities in South East Europe (EUSAC) project strengthens safety and security through Regional Cooperation in South East Europe, see the project page.
The EUSAC builds directly upon SEESAC’s decade-long SALW Control work, particularly achievements made through the previous EU funded SALW Control project, conducted during the 2010-2012 period under the Council Decision 2010/179/CFSP. The new project, which was designed in close cooperation with national authorities, will work on the following five interrelated streams of activities:
- Increased security of stockpiles: through the renovation and security improvements to storages of arms and ammunition.
- Stockpile reduction: through the destruction of surplus arms and ammunition held in storages.
- Improved marking, tracing and registration of SALW: through the provision of support to the establishment or enhancement of existing weapons registration and record-keeping systems.
- Improved regional cooperation on awareness raising, information sharing and knowledge transfer: through the facilitation of regional cooperation between national institutions tasked with arms control.
- Implementation of collection and awareness raising campaigns