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Amnesty reports arms deals with dictators

The Local · 19 Oct 2011, 10:28

Published: 19 Oct 2011 10:28 GMT+02:00

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Many of the weapons were sent to Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya, and may have been used to suppress pro-democracy protests in those countries during the recent Arab Spring, according to the report published Wednesday.

“These arms deliveries were approved even though there was a substantial risk that human rights abuses would be committed with these weapons,” said Mathias John, an arms expert with Amnesty.

Reports of shady weapons sales from German companies are nothing new. Controversy was sparked this summer by a secret tank deal with Saudi Arabia and the sale of patrol boats to Angola. That led to calls for more transparency into the process by which weapons export licenses are approved.

In 2009 the head of the German Evangelical Church warned that the country’s burgeoning arms industry put the country’s moral foundation at risk.

“One day soldiers of the Bundeswehr will be on foreign missions trying to stop violence which is being conducted with German weapons,” said Bishop Wolfgang Huber.

Germany became the world’s third largest weapons exporter in 2010, trailing only the United States and Russia.

The Amnesty report said Germany sold a wide variety of weapons to repressive countries including sub-machine guns to Egypt, assault rifles to Bahrain and bombs to Libya.

It also branded other European countries including France, Bulgaria and Austria as key weapons suppliers to such.

Story continues below…

Amnesty called on United Nations member states to negotiate a comprehensive treaty that will better regulate the international weapons trade.

The Local/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:45 October 19, 2011 by ovalle3.14
The country's moral foundations? What moral foundations?
13:38 October 19, 2011 by DOZ
Arms Deals and Envelopes of Cash for the Buyers Leaders. Hey gotta pay a Hoser if you want your kid to get a job as an Anchor.
15:59 October 19, 2011 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
This is silly. Regulation isn't going to keep weapons out of these peoples' hands. It will really just make them buy weapons from places that don't care.

If they buy them from us, we might just be able to use that little bit of influence at some point to prevent greater tragedy.
17:05 October 19, 2011 by storymann
I am very dubious that selling weapons to third countries will create any influence to prevent further tragedy.

I assume it is all about money and not philanthropy.
18:13 October 21, 2011 by McNair Kaserne
This is nothing new. Germany sold a LOT of ex-DDR tanks and BMP's to Iraq. In 2003 you could see them scattered all over the desert, burning. We saw a lot of surplus DDR AK-47's as well.

To be fair, everyone does it. Czech CZ75 pistols, Yugo AK's and PKM belt fed machine guns, British Sterling SMG's, Belgian Browning 9mm pistols. Someone will sell them arms if you don't. Deciding you will not do so changes nothing except German workers won't have a paycheck. Better that money go to Gemany than to Russia.
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