Arms trade to Middle East and North Africa shows failure of export controls

Report
October 18, 2011

Arms trade to Middle East and North Africa shows failure of export controls


Amnesty International recognized that the international community has taken some steps this year to restrict international arms transfers to Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen.  But the organization said that existing arms export controls had failed to prevent the transfer of arms in the preceding years.

“Arms embargos are usually a case of ‘too little too late’ when faced with human rights crises,” said Helen Hughes.

“What the world needs is rigorous case by case evaluation of each proposed arms transfer so that if there is a substantial risk that the arms are likely to be used to commit or facilitate serious human rights violations, then the government must show the red stop light.”

“This proactive ‘Golden Rule’ is already in the UN draft paper for the Arms Trade Treaty talks which resume at the United Nations in February. If the major arms exporters fail to adopt the Golden Rule, and recklessly continue a ‘business as usual’ approach, fuelling human rights crises as we have witnessed across the Middle East and North African region this year, it will needlessly shatter lives and undermine global security."