Monday, October 02, 2006

Global Arms Industry Exploiting Major Loopholes in Arms Regulations According to Control Arms Coalition

Oxfam International, Amnesty International and
International Action Network on Small Arms Involved in

10/2/2006 9:41:00 AM

To: International Desk

Contact: Sharon Singh of Amnesty International,
202-544-0200 ext. 289

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The
globalization of the arms industry has opened up major
loopholes in all current arms export regulations,
allowing sales to human rights abusers and countries
under arms embargoes, according to a new report by the
Control Arms Campaign.

The report, "Arms without Borders," was launched today
as the United Nations opened its annual session on
arms control, in the run up to a landmark vote at the
UN to start work on an Arms Trade Treaty.

The report reveals that U.S., EU and Canadian
companies are among those able to circumvent arms
regulations by selling weapon components and
subcontracting arms manufacturing overseas. The report
details how weapons, including attack helicopters and
combat trucks, are being assembled from foreign
components and manufactured under license in countries
including China, Egypt, India, Israel and Turkey.

The report shows how these or similar weapons have
ended up in destinations such as Colombia, Sudan and
Uzbekistan where they have reportedly been used for
the killing and displacement of civilians,
highlighting the urgent need for global rules to
regulate an increasingly globalized industry.

"This report reveals a litany of loopholes and
destroyed lives. Arms companies are global, yet arms
regulations are not, and the result is the arming of
abusive regimes. Europe and North America are fast
becoming the IKEA of the arms industry, supplying
parts for human rights abusers to assemble at home,
with the morals not included. It is time for an Arms
Trade Treaty," said Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam

The report exposes two major loopholes that allow arms
companies to legally circumvent arms regulations,
including arms embargoes:

You can't sell it whole, but you can sell it in
individual pieces:

The European Union has an arms embargo against China;
the United States and Canada refuse to sell attack
helicopters to China, yet, China's new Z-10 attack
helicopter would not fly without parts and technology
from a UK/Italian company (AugustaWestland), a
Canadian company (Pratt & Whitney Canada), a US
company (Lord Corporation) and a Franco-German company
(Eurocopter). China has previously sold attack
helicopters to a number of countries including Sudan,
which is under a full EU arms embargo and a partial UN
arms embargo. The Apache helicopter, used by Israel in
the recent Lebanon crisis, is made up of over 6,000
parts manufactured worldwide, including in UK, the
Netherlands and Ireland. Under the EU Code of Conduct,
these countries should refuse to export attack
helicopters directly to Israel.

You can't sell from here, but you can sell from over

In May 2005, Uzbek security forces fired on
demonstrators, killing hundreds of people. The Uzbek
military used military Land Rovers during the
massacre, which were made up of 70 percent British
parts. The Land Rover parts were sent "flat pack" to
Turkey, where they were assembled and made into
military vehicles. The vehicles were then supplied to
the Uzbek government. The UK government has no control
over the deal because the vehicles were not assembled
and converted into military vehicles in the UK.

"EU arms makers don't have to sacrifice profits for
the sake of principle, instead they can simply
subcontract," said Rebecca Peters, director of the
International Action Network on Small Arms. "For
example, the Austrian gun company Glock is trying to
establish a production plant in Brazil. If that goes
ahead, Glock will be able to circumvent the EU Code of
Conduct on Arms Exports by shipping guns from its
Brazilian plant."

The report also shows that the technology
revolutionizing the arms industry is often the same as
that used in the home and that it is frequently
unregulated. For example, the digital signal
processors used in the latest DVD players can also be
found in target acquisition systems for fighter jet
missile systems, yet when the technology is sold for
use in military planes it is not regulated.

"Arms trade laws are so out of date that the sales of
army helmets are more regulated than the components
assembled into deadly weapons. What the world needs is
an effective international Arms Trade Treaty that will
stop the flow of arms to those that commit human
rights abuses," said Irene Khan, secretary general of
Amnesty International.

Facts and figures:

-- By the end of this year, military spending is
estimated to reach an unprecedented $1,058.9 billion,
which is roughly 15 times international aid
expenditure. This is higher than the Cold War record
reached in 1987 to 1988 of $1,034 in today's prices.

-- In 2005, the United States, Russia, the United
Kingdom, France and Germany together accounted for an
estimated 82 percent of all arms transfers.

-- Brazil, India, Israel, Singapore, South Africa and
South Korea now all have arms companies in the world's
top 100.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


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