BiH Destroys 1008 SALW to mark the International Gun Destruction Day
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) destroyed 1,008 pieces of small arms and light weapons (SALW) at the Jelsingrad Smelter in Banja Luka to mark 9 July, International Gun Destruction Day. The destroyed SALW included 234 long barrels, 337 short barrels and 437 other weapons and belonging equipment. Weapons destroyed have been confiscated by five police agencies of BiH over the course of the last several months as part of their law enforcement activities. Their destruction was supported through the funding made available by UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina.
With this destruction, BiH joined regional efforts coordinated by UNDP SEESAC in marking the International Gun Destruction Day, along with Montenegro and Kosovo*. The total of weapons destroyed this year in the Western Balkans is over 4,530 SALW. Montenegro destroyed 1,140 SALW with the support of the European Union, through the EU Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP, in Support of SEESAC Disarmament and Arms Control Activities in South East Europe , while Kosovo* destroyed 2,382 pieces of SALW with support of the German Government.
Initiated by the UN in 2001, International Gun Destruction Day serves as a reminder about the threat that excess, poorly secured, and illegal weapons pose to the public’s everyday safety and security. In South East Europe, the problem of small arms circulation and proliferation knows no borders, and as such demands a joint, regional response.
Since 2002,SEESAC assisted South East Europe to rid itself of over 300,000 pieces of small arms. Coordinating regional gun destruction efforts is yet another way of making a stance across borders.
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 project, designed in close cooperation with national authorities, works 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
* References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).