Arms Exports Report 2018 Announced tightening of exports guidelines not in sight
On 17 December 2018, the Joint Conference on Church and Development (GKKE) presented its Arms Exports Report 2018 in Berlin. The GKKE deems the balance of the arms exports policy of the new federal government to be sobering. The ecumenical organization urges the government to halt arms exports to the so-called Yemen war coalition and demands a restrictive law on arms exports.
“In 27 recipient countries of German arms exports, there were internal violent conflicts; in another 20, peace and security in the region is in danger”, Dr Max Mutschler, Chair of the expert group on arms exports of the GKKE stresses. According to the researcher at the Peace and Conflict Research institute BICC, the long-standing delivery of arms to Saudi Arabia that also continued in 2018 is the most glaring example of the disastrous German arms exports policy. With this policy, the federal government has contributed to the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.
Altogether, the federal government granted individual export licences for armaments amounting to around euro 6.2 billion in 2017. 61 per cent of which were arms exports to non-member countries. Their share of the total sum amounts to some euro 3.8 billion. It is striking that in particular non-member countries—albeit not only these—amongst the recipients of German arms exports are situated in areas of tension or have a challenging human rights situation. “Germany urgently needs a restrictive law that controls arms exports, to also be able to determine a significant restriction of arms exports to non-member countries”, Max Mutschler stresses.
In the context of the envisioned joint development of battle tanks and aircraft in the EU, the federal government ought to back a coherent arms exports policy of the member states. “Rather than adjusting standards downward, the institutional frame for the implementation of the EU Common Position on arms exports must be improved”, BICC researcher Mutschler comments. The GKKE also follows the demand by the European Parliament to establish a supervisory body that oversees the arms exports of EU member states and invites the federal government to support this demand.
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