Parliament supports SP motion to end arms trade with repressive regimes

1 July 2011

Parliament supports SP motion to end arms trade with repressive regimes

No trade in arms with countries where human rights are abused and where free elections are not held: this proposal from SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk was adopted to day by the Dutch national Parliament. Delighted with the result of the vote, Van Dijk says, ‘The government left itself room to sell weapons to dictatorial regimes as a result of economic interests. The recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have demonstrated that these weapons will be used against the country’s own population. A ban on trading in arms with repressive countries is, as this shows, entirely justified.’

In March, following the unrest in Egypt, Libya and Bahrein, announced that it wanted to tighten up its policies on the export of arms. Subsequent proposals, however, were extremely disappointing. “The government is refusing, for example, to monitor arms which are traded via the Netherlands, on the grounds what we trust the monitoring carried out by other EU member states,” says Van Dijk. “These countries turn out in practice to sell weapons, including to to repressive regimes, far too readily. The Netherlands should not be cooperating in the crushing of peoples who are yearning for freedom and democracy.”

De SP is pleased that Parliament has given its support to a real tightening of arms export policy, and is urging the government to put the motion into practice without delay. “We are daily seeing the populations of Arab countries demanding democratic reforms,” says Van Dijk. “The Netherlands should not then be delivering weapons to these regimes via the back door.”

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