Northern Ireland company equipping Pakistan security forces - Amnesty calls for tougher arms controls
Amnesty International has called for tougher controls on arms exports as it revealed that a Northern Ireland company has helped to equip Pakistan's police force, currently engaged in the brutal suppression of pre-democracy protests.
Amnesty International said that Lisburn-based Global Armour Limited has reported supplying body armour to the Pakistani police and military. The firm produces and exports a range of body armour - such as bullet proof vests and helmets - to security forces throughout the world, including to countries with poor human rights records such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan.
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland programme director, said:
"Daily we watch the television images of the Pakistani police force brutally suppressing lawyers and democracy protestors. It is shocking to think that a Northern Ireland company may have helped to equip that same police force.
"In recent weeks Amnesty has highlighted how local companies may be helping to arm the Burmese military. Now we highlight Northern Ireland's role in equipping Pakistani security forces.
“Are the people of Northern Ireland happy to be arming so many 'bad guys', the enemies of human rights and democracy around the world? We think not and we call on the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister to work with Ministers in Westminster to tighten the UK's arms export laws."
In September, an Amnesty International report, Northern Ireland: Arming the World, revealed that Northern-Ireland based companies may be involved in supplying arms to countries with poor human rights records. According to the report, companies based in Northern Ireland are supplying components which may be used in attack helicopters and jets which are exported to countries known to have poor human rights records, including Pakistan.
The news comes as thousands of Amnesty International members in London and around the world prepared today to join with judges, journalists and lawyers in a global day of action against the current assault on human rights and justice in Pakistan.
The demonstrations are taking place in several countries including Australia, Canada, India, Nepal, Norway, Paraguay, Switzerland, Turkey, the US and UK.
In London, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland-educated Secretary General Irene Khan will lead a delegation of top lawyers, judges and journalists to present a petition at the High Commission of Pakistan.
The petition, addressed to General Pervez Musharraf, will demand full respect for freedom of expression in Pakistan, the release of all those detained under the State of Emergency, reinstatement of the independent judiciary, justice for the victims of enforced disappearance and no introduction of military tribunals for civilians.
Amnesty International is also calling for all other states to suspend immediately all forms of security cooperation, including military assistance, until Pakistan lifts the emergency measures which violate international human rights law.
- View the Amnesty's report Northern Ireland: Arming the World
- Find out more about our campaign to control Arms