The destruction of 820 pieces of SALW in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In order to sustain public safety and contribute to the prevention of illicit possession and misuse of firearms, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina destroyed 820 pieces of weapons and 603 weapon parts on 28 October 2023, in Ilijaš. The police agencies collected the destroyed SALW through their regular police activities or voluntarily surrendered by citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the event, the Chairman of the SALW Coordination Board in BiH, Ermin Pešto, said that since 2016, around 27,100 pieces and parts of weapons have been destroyed through these activities.

Furthermore, the Head of the Rule of Law Department at the Office of the EU Special Representative in BiH, Alfredo Strippoli, stated that the European Union remains committed and ready to further support the competent authorities in BiH in their efforts to effectively control the proliferation and illegal trade of SALW.

And Sylvain Merlen, Acting Resident Representative of UNDP in BiH, emphasized that the UNDP has been continuously supporting competent institutions in activities that address key security issues arising from inadequate control of small arms and light weapons for many years.

By implementing these activities, Bosnia and Herzegovina continues its commitment to achieving the goals set out in the Roadmap for a Sustainable Solution to Suppressing the Illicit Possession, Misuse, and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons and Associated Ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024 and the Strategy for the Control of SALW in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2021-2024.

The action of destroying weapons is organized by the SALW Coordination Board in Bosnia and Herzegovina, supported by SEESAC, the United Nations Development Program in BiH with the financial assistance of the European Union.

This event was implemented within the framework of the regional IPA project “Support to Strengthening the Fight against Illicit Possession, Misuse, and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Western Balkans". One of the key aims of the project is to raise awareness of the dangers posed by illegal firearms and their misuse. Awareness-raising plays a key role in the overall control of small arms and light weapons, as it contributes to the reduction of demand and encourages legalization and voluntary surrender. The destruction of firearms marks the final stage of their life cycle and thus it is essential that it is highly visible to the public. With this in mind, the destruction of weapons in Bosnia and Herzegovina provided indisputable assurance of firearms’ removal from circulation and contributed positively to public perception of safety.