Making Kosovo safer, one destroyed weapon at a timeJul 7, 2016
This 7 July, as in previous years, Kosovo marked the international day for weapons destruction by melting a large number of confiscated weapons. Supported by the Foreign Office of Germany and UNDP, this event saw the destruction of 2382 small and soft weapons (AVL), precisely 888 short weapons and 1494 long weapons and thousands of parts.
Local and international officials met on this occasion to witness the process, among them Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Valdet Hoxha, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Ms. Alessandra Roccasalvo, from the German Embassy in Kosovo, Ms. Henriette Kötter, and the Deputy General Director of the Kosovo Police, Mr. Naim Rexha.
“It is a strategic priority for the region to properly picture the influence of the illegal accumulation and trafficking of small and soft weapons, as well as their ammunitions. Kosovo is strongly committed to fight all kinds of illegal weapons trafficking”, the deputy minister Mr. Hoxha stated. He also advised the citizens to stop celebrating with weapons because every bullet fired in the air will eventually fall down and find a potential victim that could end in fatality.
“For the past year and a half, this is the third time I am participating in a weapons destruction event, and this is a good thing because illegal weapons pose a huge threat to the entire society," said Alessandra Roccasalvo of UNDP. She thanked German Ministry of Foreign Affairs for supporting this UNDP project and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kosovo Police for their contribution to confiscate illegal weapons.
Emphasizing the importance of the event, Henriette Kötter, representative of the German Embassy in Kosovo said: “The destruction of illicit weapons and ammunition is a vital part of the small arms control and Kosovo’s comprehensive Small Arms and Light Weapons Control Programme. Only when illicit weapons are destroyed we can be sure that they will not do any further harm to citizens and cannot be used for illicit activities. Also this can contribute to a change in mentality. If everyone has to give up unregistered weapons and I know that my neighbors do not own any weapons I can feel safer myself and relinquish small arms that are in my household.”
The general deputy director of the Kosovo Police, Mr. Naim Rexha stated that the Kosovo Police is continuously working in order to succeed in confiscating illegal weapons: “The Kosovo Police has been and will continue to be committed to accomplishing its duties and responsibilities as per the Kosovo Police Development Strategic Plan 2016-2020, with the purpose of strengthening public security by confiscating weapons that are illegally owned by the citizens”, said Rexha.
This event marked the launching of the campaign, “Celebrate with your heart, and not with weapons” for reducing/preventing festive fire, which is a cooperation of UNDP SEESAC and supported by the European Union.