1,450 pieces of small arms and light weapons and 1,070 pieces of arms components were destroyed at a Banja Luka smelter by Bosnia’s Small Arms and Light Weapons Coordination Board, on the occasion of the International Gun Destruction Day, 9 July. The event was attended by the representatives of Bosnian law enforcement agencies, the Ministry of Defense, the EU mission and the UNDP BiH.
Richard Wood, Head of the Rule of Law Section at the Office of the EU Special Representative in Bosnia, said: “We are happy to witness this important event today as small arms and light weapons represent a national, regional and EU threat. As such it is important that we tackle the problem together across the region. EU commends the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies and encourages authorities to take all possible steps to continue to remove weapons from the public domain.”
The EU provided €6,508,136 between 2017 and 2019 to the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC), for the control and destruction of illicit weapons across the region. With these funds, Bosnia disposed of 996 long and 1,319 short barrels, which were either confiscated by law enforcement agencies or were surplus from the Ministry of Defense.
“Surrender, collection and destruction of SALW and corresponding ammunition is one of important strategic goals mentioned in the Small Arms and Light Weapons Strategy in BiH 2016 – 2020, and its implementation is continuation of efforts to reduce the threat of SALW in BiH and the region,” said Ermin Pešto, head of the Small Arms and Light Weapons Coordination Board.
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 everyday public safety and security.