Collecting Illegal Weapons as a Solution to Improving Arms Control in Bosnia and Herzegovina

20 Jun 2013

In cooperation with the Office of the Special Representative of the European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in BiH organised a ministerial conference on Arms Control in the Context of EU Enlargement on 18 and 19 June 2013.

The conference consisted of two panels, discussing the collection and registration campaign for SALW, as well as arms trafficking.

It was recommended that a campaign to collect illegal weapons in BiH is implemented in a time-coordinated manner across the entire country, pursuant to the international standards for small arms control. Conference participants recognised the importance of public involvement in this issue through raising awareness of citizens in BiH regarding the illegal possession of weapons as a precondition for a successful campaign to collect illegal weapons.

 “And still, 18 years after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are resolving the issue of weapons and ammunition remnants that unfortunately remain unresolved, despite the efforts of security agencies and the police. The reasons are numerous but the principle reason is often a lack of coordination between local stakeholders and various international organisations willing to help resolve the problem. Complex system is often an obstacle for activities of collecting and destroying weapons and ammunition to give the best results, despite all good intentions. This conference attended by representatives of legislative and executive branches has shown that these are the ways ahead to achieve full success in collecting illegal weapons and arms control in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the conference, participants provided a series of recommendations that are operational in character and can quickly achieve the desired results”, said Ms. Nermina Zaimović-Uzunović, a member of the Joint Commission for Defence and Security of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The UNDP believes that the Conference is of great value for the improvement of safety and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As noted, this topic is still, unfortunately, very much current since we are all too often witnesses to incidents involving firearms or rejected or found unexploded ordnances. In future, it is expected that UNDP can support relevant institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementing the illegal weapons campaign.
 
Without the compliance of the relevant legislation with the EU standards on trafficking, all operational efforts of the police agencies will not amount to major progress in resolving this problem that poses a serious safety and security threat to citizens. The need to improve coordination of law enforcement and authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the exchange of operational intelligence at the local level was also emphasised, in addition to cooperation with Europol in making the best use of their experience in this field.

H.E. Peter Sorensen, Special Representative of the European Union, and H.E. Yuri Afanasiev, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, opened the conference, which further echoes the interest of both organisations for advancements in this field.

The conference ends today in the afternoon hours, after the bilateral meetings between conference participants.

Contact Information

UNDP Communications Unit
Zmaja od Bosne bb
71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tel: + 387 33 293 400
Fax: + 387 33 552 330
communications.ba@undp.org