South Korea's suspension of tear gas shipments to Bahrain welcomed

The Bahraini authorities have repeatedly misused tear gas against peaceful protesters © MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images
‘Other countries that continue to supply Bahrain with tear gas and related equipment should sit up and take notice’ - Brian Wood
 
Amnesty International has welcomed an announcement by the South Korean authorities today that it was halting planned shipments of tear gas to Bahrain.
 
The announcement by South Korea’s defence agency cited pressure from human rights groups following the Bahraini authorities’ repeated - and sometimes fatal - misuse of the toxic chemical agents against peaceful protesters.
 
Amnesty and other human rights groups have worked alongside Bahrain Watch’s “Stop the Shipment” campaign to press the South Korean authorities to make the move
 
Amnesty International’s Head of Arms Control and Human Rights Brian Wood said:
 
“The South Korean authorities should be commended for this move to help prevent further human rights violations in Bahrain, which comes after sustained campaigning by activists from Amnesty International and other NGOs in Bahrain and around the world.
 
“South Korea is sending a clear message that the Bahraini authorities’ ongoing repression of peaceful protests is unacceptable and will not be rewarded with future weapons transfers.
 
“Other countries that continue to supply Bahrain with tear gas and related equipment should sit up and take notice.”
 
According to a leaked document, published on 16 October by local NGO Bahrain Watch, the Bahraini Interior Ministry placed a tender for bids of up to 1.6 million tear gas canisters, 90,000 tear gas grenades and 145,000 stun grenades. The South Korean company DaekWang Chemical, which had also previously supplied tear gas items to Bahrain, was among the companies designated to fill the order. DaekWang’s chief executive today told the Financial Times newspaper his company was “unlikely” to provide future tear gas shipments to Bahrain.
 
Amnesty has identified at least ten countries whose governments have authorised supplying weaponry, munitions and related equipment to Bahrain. The arms export countries included Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. US, French and Spanish officials have indicated in recent weeks to Amnesty that they have suspended supplies of chemical irritants to Bahrain. 
 
Amnesty is calling on all countries to halt arms transfers to Bahrain while there is a substantial risk they will be used to commit further serious human rights violations. 
 

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