Local group activity October 2014 - EU tools of torture

Tell the EU not to profit from torture

We’ve been fighting torture for more than 50 years – exposing governments, supporting survivors and pushing for better laws. We campaigned for the European Union to introduce specific laws restricting the trade in torture equipment and these came into force in 2005.

However, there are loopholes which mean that some types of torture equipment continue to be traded in the EU. This year, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen the legislation and close those loopholes.

A chance to change

The EU is currently reviewing the law which prohibits the trade of items used for torture and the death penalty. We must ensure that the law is strengthened so that the EU is never complicit in the sale of torture items. 

The European Commission has come up with a proposal to amend the regulation, which will be discussed and voted on by the European Parliament and all EU member states.

Before it goes to the vote, the proposal will go to two MEP committees, the Foreign Affairs (AFET) and Trade committees (INTA), who will have the power to negotiate and finalise the text to be voted on. We’ve identified three main areas where the regulation needs to be strengthened:

  1. Brokering: Currently you can trade in banned equipment as long as the equipment doesn’t physically enter the EU – known as brokering. We want to ensure no EU company is complicit in the trade of torture equipment. 
  2. Marketing: Although many items are banned from sale, companies are still able to advertise this equipment in the EU through commercial marketing, exhibitions or trade fairs. EU companies must not be able to promote the tools of torture.
  3. New items: Equipment is coming into the market all the time, which the existing list of prohibited items may not capture. The EU must allow the immediate prohibition of any goods where it is known they will be likely used for torture, ill-treatment or the death penalty. The trade in nuclear, chemical and biological weapons already have a similar ‘catch all’ clause in place. We want to bring the EU laws on torture goods in line with this.

Take action

Please write to your local MEPs asking them to support our calls to strengthen this legislation and close all loopholes that allow the trade in the tools of torture. 

Those that sit on AFET and INTA will have the most influence, so please prioritise writing to them. Find out which MEPs are on the Foreign Affairs and Trade committees.

But if you can write to all your MEPs that would be great, as they can all influence their colleagues and will take part in the final vote. Find a full list of your MEPs and their addresses.

You can download suggested letter copy below but personal letters are the most powerful. If you can handwrite your letters and include why you, as a constituent, care, it will make your letters more effective. 

Please let us know you have done this and send us any response you receive so we can use this information when meeting MEPs. 

Stop Torture Campaign briefing
EU Tools of Torture campaign update