Rape and murder in Congo: EU must take a stand on arms trade

Rape and murder in Congo: EU must take a stand on arms trade 
(Brussels, 12 June 2012) As the European Parliament debates the EU’s position ahead of next month’s negotiations at the United Nations on the creation of an Arms Trade Treaty, Amnesty International has released a report exploring the role of the unregulated arms trade in fuelling murder and rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.   
Among the issues the report highlights are the role of both Congolese security forces and armed groups in committing serous human rights violations, a problem fuelled by the ease with which weapons and ammunition are available from countries including China, France, Ukraine, and the USA. While the EU has led calls for a strong and legally binding Arms Trade Treaty, its member states continue to be involved in exporting arms and ammunition to the DRC and other places where they are used to commit atrocities. 
“The situation in the DRC demonstrates the desperate need for governments around the world to agree on a comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty in July”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “EU countries must play a leading role in this process to ensure this treaty has robust human rights safeguards.” 
The European Parliament is expected to adopt a resolution on Wednesday which calls for an Arms Trade Treaty designed to prevent the flow of arms to commit or facilitate crimes under international law. The Foreign Affairs Council is expected then to adopt the EU’s position in negotiations on 25 June. 
For more information please contact:
Peter Clarke 
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 2773