Kapetanovic: With already 334 victims of firearms in 2023 in our region, it is high time to reduce its supply, demand and misuse

High-level meeting on small and light weapons control took place in Tirana on 21-22 June 2023

High-level meeting on small and light weapons control took place in Tirana on 21-22 June 2023

Amer Kapetanovic, Head of RCC Political Department addressing the high-level meeting on small and light weapons control held in Tirana on 21-22 June 2023

Amer Kapetanovic, Head of RCC Political Department addressing the high-level meeting on small and light weapons control held in Tirana on 21-22 June 2023

RCC, SEESAC, PFSALW organise high-level meeting on small and light weapons control 

Tirana – “The widespread proliferation and misuse of firearms poses a great threat to our societies. Only in the first quarter of 2023, 821 firearm incidents were reported in South East Europe, resulting in 334 victims. Our 2022 SecuriMeter survey indicates that 12% of Western Balkans citizens would consider owning a gun, which is twice as much compared to 2021. On the other hand, it is comforting that 79% said they would not, pointing it is high time to enhance the reduction of supply, demand and misuse of firearms also through  increased awareness, education, outreach and advocacy,” said Amer Kapetanovic, Head of Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Political Department at the high-level Meeting held in Tirana. 

The meeting, dedicated to increasing parliamentary commitment, understanding, and action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) control, and presenting progress reports on implementation of the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap, has been organised by the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PFSALW),  RCC and South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) in cooperation with the Parliament of Albania. It gathered SALW control experts and parliament representatives from the region. 

“SEESAC data reveal that in the 2019-2021 period, in Southeast Europe more people were killed in firearms incidents in domestic settings than in any other type of incident, including those in the criminal context or public disputes. Out of all women killed with firearms in this period, almost 80% were killed by their intimate partners or other close family members.  Firearms violence threatens our most fundamental human right, the right to life, but it also has a strong effect on sustainable development, good governance and socioeconomic development. Hence, this high-level meeting is both timely and most relevant. Parliamentarians are crucial actors in the prevention and reduction of illicit SALW proliferation and also in strengthening women’s role and participation in peace and security processes,” concluded Kapetanovic

Besides Mr Kapetanovic, the opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Bardhyl Kollcaku, Member of the Albanian Parliament, Ms. Elsa Håstad, Ambassador of Sweden to Albania, Mr. Alexis Hupin, Head of the Political Section at EU Delegation to Albania, and  Ms. Monica Merino, Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  All speakers congratulated the authorities of the region for setting the standards in regional approach to small arms and light weapons control, underlined the importance of WB SALW Control Roadmap as an example of good practice of a regional approach to SALW control and reiterated their support in tackling illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms across the region.

The Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap has been developed by SEESAC under the RCC’s political umbrella. The Roadmap is an undisputable testimony of the commitment undertaken by the region jointly and a great example of a regionally owned process. 

The meeting is a continuation of  multi-year efforts and actions of PFSALW, RCC, and SEESAC directed at preventing and reducing armed violence and building more peaceful and sustainable societies in South east Europe and beyond.  It is financially supported by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs’ (UNODA), Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation Fund (UNSCAR), and the European Union.