EU states must back robust Arms Trade Treaty



EU states must back robust Arms Trade Treaty

(Brussels, 12 March 2013) Ahead of next week’s final negotiations on a global Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations, Amnesty International has urged EU countries to back a robust treaty.

“France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK are all among the world’s top ten conventional arms exporters, so they’ve got a vital role to play in securing a strong Arms Trade Treaty”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The final round of negotiations is an acid test for EU countries to stand by their rhetoric. Arms transfers continue to fuel human rights violations, affecting millions of people.” 

France and the UK, as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, will be particularly pivotal in finalising an effective Treaty with strong human rights protections at the conference held at the UN from 18-28 March.

Between them, the Security Council’s five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the UK and USA, are responsible for over half the almost US$100bn total annual global trade in conventional weapons, according to an Amnesty International briefing released today. The briefing illustrates arms transfers from each of the five to states around the world, where they are likely to be used for serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

France has sold vehicles that can be militarised to Sudan, where they have been used by government-backed Janjaweed militia which has committed gross human rights violations in the country’s Darfur region.  In the UK, there is increasing evidence of foreign brokers using front companies to help supply weapons and munitions to the target countries of greatest concern.

This includes an international clandestine supply chain that resulted in several large consignments of Ukrainian tanks, small arms, artillery and light weapons being delivered to South Sudan via Kenya in 2007 and 2008.

Amnesty International maintains that the final Arms Trade Treaty should include a ‘golden rule’ to prevent states from transferring weapons if there is a substantial risk that they are used in serious human rights violations.  The organisation is also pressing for the final treaty to cover all types of weapons and munitions for use in military and internal security operations, as well as related equipment, parts and technology.

For more information please contact

Peter Clarke  
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 2773
[email protected]