Spain: Arms sold in North Africa during Arab Spring

NGO reports, risk of use for human rights violations

27 April, 14:26

(ANSAmed) - MADRID, APRIL 27 - Spain has continued to export arms and defence material to countries including Egypt, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia during the Arab Spring uprisings, Amnesty International, Intermon Oxfam and Greenpeace have claimed. The NGOs, who are all involved in the "Arms under control" campaign, drafted a report in collaboration with the Foundation for Peace and with technical assistance from the Institute of Studies on Conflicts and Humanitarian Action. The document, which concerns the first six months of 2011, shows that Spain continued to export defence and dual-use material, hunting and sporting weapons and police equipment to the countries, despite control measures on arms trading to North Africa and the Middle East. The material "risked being used to commit human rights violations," the report said.

Saudi Arabia's armed forces received arms and dual-use material worth 3.5 million euros, while deals with the country for aircraft, bombs, missiles and rockets worth 29.6 million euros were also authorised. In the case of Bahrain, defence material worth 6.35 million euros and off-road vehicles and aircraft worth 79 million euros were sold. The NGOs released a statement expressing their "concern" for the case of Saudi Arabia, with reference to an operation that could lead to the sale of 250 Leopard combat tanks. The NGOs have asked the Spanish Secretary of State for Trade, Jaime Garcia-Legaz, to appear before Congress to explain the details of exports in the sector in the first 6 months of 2011. (ANSAmed).

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