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Sudan: New report shames countries and companies cashing in on slaughter by selling arms

A new report from Amnesty International today (16 November 2004) reveals details of uncontrolled arms exports involving the UK, Ireland, France, Russia and Poland amongst others, that have fuelled massive human rights abuses in Sudan.

These arms exports have including the killing, rape, torture and displacement of more than a million civilians since the Darfur conflict began in February 2003.

The report calls for a crackdown on arms transfers by all governments involved, and a UN embargo covering arms sales to all parties, including Sudanese Government forces.

Amnesty International has seen Sudanese End User Certificates authorising a UK company, Endeavour Resources UK Ltd, to negotiate on behalf of the Sudanese authorities for the supply of Brazilian handguns and large numbers of Antonov aircraft from a Ukrainian arms export company. Eyewitnesses in Darfur report the Sudan Air Force using Antonovs to drop “barrel bombs”- boxes filled with metal shrapnel:

“Janjawid and soldiers of the forces of the government both in uniforms came and attacked...In the morning of 11 October they dropped 17 barrels of shrapnel from the Antonov. Then they came, the Janjawid on horses and the government army in cars. It was many many of them, maybe even 6000. More than 80 people were killed during the attack”

The UK’s Export Control Act outlaws UK nationals and residents brokering weapons to countries subject to an EU arms embargo, such as Sudan.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Stephen Bowen said:

“It is sickening that UK companies may be attempting to profit from people’s misery in Sudan, by supplying the weapons that are used to kill, maim and drive people from their homes.

“The Export Control Act was put in place to stop this happening. The UK government must use its powers to clamp down on any UK companies trying to cash in on a conflict that has already claimed thousands of lives.”

The report, Sudan: Arming the perpetrators of grave abuses in Darfur, identifies the main types of arms sent to Sudan and the governments that have deliberately or unwittingly allowed them to be sent. It shows how Sudanese government forces and their militia allies have used such arms for grave human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Based on the testimony of hundreds of survivors gathered by Amnesty International - as well as commercial documents, UN Arms data and other sources - the report also details:

  • Grenades, rifles, pistols, ammunition and other small arms and light weapons exported to Sudan from many countries, mainly China, France, Iran and Saudi Arabia;
  • Military aircraft and components sold to Sudan from the Russian Federation, China and Belarus, with helicopter spare parts from Lithuania, despite repeated use of such aircraft to bomb villages and support ground attacks on civilians;
  • Tanks, military vehicles and artillery transferred to Sudan from Belarus, Russia and Poland, even though such equipment has been used to help launch indiscriminate and direct attacks on civilians.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Stephen Bowen said:

“Governments must stop turning a blind eye and stamp out the callous trade in weapons to Sudan. While the UK and EU have taken some action, others still continue to flood Darfur with weapons.

“The UN Security Council should impose a rigorously monitored arms embargo on all parties to the conflict - including Sudanese government forces. The UK should use its position on the Security Council to ensure an embargo is put in place as soon as possible.”

Amnesty International is appealing to the UN Security Council to impose a mandatory arms embargo to halt exports of arms likely to be used to commit human rights violations. The embargo should be accompanied by rigorous UN monitoring both inside and outside Sudan.

The organisation is calling on all states mentioned in the report to take immediate concrete steps to suspend all transfers of those types of arms and related logistical and security supplies that are being used for grave human rights violations in Sudan.

To prevent the Arms from contributing to such disasters, Amnesty International is also campaigning for all states to establish much more rigorous controls on conventional arms, including the establishment of an Arms Treaty which would prohibit arms exports to those likely to use them to violate international human rights and humanitarian law.

Read the full report and a photograph slideshow /b> associated with it.

Join in with our campaign, Control Arms /b>

Find out more about Sudan and how you can help /b>

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