The events in the Middle East and north Africa have highlighted that the governments who have ignored human rights issues to support and sell arms to authoritarian regimes are not only hypocritical and immoral, but also short-sighted in terms of /realpolitik/. Politicians squirm yet remained shameless when pressed on shameful dealings in the not-so-distant past.
The uprisings in the Arab world have led to extreme violence in the country which has suffered the longest-standing and most repressive dictatorship of the Arab world. Due to the lack of information from the press, we suppose that the protests took place against repression on a smaller scale, perhaps at the hands of Libyan security forces who, when faced with the success of these uprisings, did not want to face their people. Therefore it is presumed that those who are using military strategies are mercenaries. It is very difficult to know where these soldiers are coming from and whether they form part of private military organisations, which are playing an increasingly important role in current armed conflicts. It is also difficult to know what arms we are talking about when we hear the news that fighter planes and helicopters are shooting at the civilian population. However, it is not impossible to find out this information.
After the bloody suppression of protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, the European Union (and the US) ordered an arms embargo that applies until today. From a human rights perspective this is fully justified: the situation remains appalling and attempts at democratic reforms are nipped in the bud. At the same time the embargo is also clearly politically motivated, to keep China as small as possible in military terms. While the economic relationship with China has grown, military co-operation rightly remains a thorny issue. Despite cracks in the embargo it won't be off the table any time soon. Yet it is a question how long the blockade will be maintained with China strengthening its power base.
Coinciding with the celebration of the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona (Spain), several groups took action in order to raise awareness about coltan and its links with the electronics industry and the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).1
The World Mobile Congress, celebrated between the 14th and 17th of February, which 50,000 people attended, filling up 98% of the hotels in the city, is the most popular event linked to the mobile phone industry in the world. The main actor behind such a large scale event is the GSMA, the organisation which represents the interests of the mobile phone industry.2 Although the aim of the congress was to “Lead the transformation”, none of the sessions addressed issues of corporate social responsibility linked to the question of coltan.
On 11 March 2011, the Platform against the BBVA bank of Bilbao held a gathering and a protest outside the BBVA shareholders’ meeting held in the Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao. Both were very successful. Participation in the protest was high and the action was carried out at the entrance of the thieves’ cave (as it has been labelled by many during the protests) without any incidents.
On February 11, 2011, a group of Belgian peace activists blocked the entrance of the Israeli company Agrexco’s distribution centre at Liège Airport. The activists protested against the import of agricultural goods from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. The settlements are in violation of international humanitarian law. Agrexco facilitates the economical growth of the settlements by exporting their agricultural produce to the worlds markets.
United Nations, Mar 10, 2011 (IPS) - World governments have spent an estimated $1.6 trillion dollars in 2010 on military operations, weapons, research and military aid, according the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). What would you do with this amount of money? By asking this thought-provoking question NGOs seek to strengthen the discussion about alternative ways for shifting and reallocating military spending in the run-up to the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) on April 12.
As it has been well reported in the news, over the last years there has been an increase in pirate attacks upon both tanker & cargo ships mostly in the coast of Somalia, the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. As these attacks continue to increase, then so has the 'armed protection' measures which are being used by the shipping industry.
‘Neged Neshek’means ‘Against Arms’ in Hebrew. This website endeavours to be a valuable resource for news, data and analysis focusing on Israel’s arms industry with a secondary focus on militarism in Israeli culture, society and politics.
In 2009 the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition was due to hold its bi-annual arms selling jamboree in East London, opening with a conference at the Queen Elizabeth Conference centre in central London.
Papua is the western half of New Guinea, the world’s second largest island, located about 200 km from the north of Australia. When the Dutch colonised this territory, it called it Dutch New Guinea. The name of this territory has changed over time according to its political status. The Papuan political leaders then changed the name of Dutch New Guinea to West Papua when they prepared for the self-government of this territory in 1961. As soon as the Dutch left in 1962, Indonesia took over the territory, and then West Papua became one of the Indonesian provinces, called Irian Jaya. In 1999, the demand for independence from Papuans increased. In 2001 the Indonesian government granted a Special Autonomy status for Papua under law number 21, and accepted the original name of Papua. Yet, the autonomous status does not mean self-government. All development policies are still under the control of Jakarta, including the policy over investment in natural resources. Moreover, Papua is the only province of Indonesia which it is still identified as a conflict zone under the national defence policy after East Timor became an independent country in 1999 and after Acheh Province signed a Peace Agreement in 2008.
30 September to 2 October 2011 Barcelona
International Seminar: War Profiteering and Peace Movement Responses
Organised by Justícia i Pau (Centre Delàs), Fundació per la Pau, War Resisters' International & the European Network Against Arms Trade.
This seminar will bring together representatives from organisations from all over the world that campaign against different forms and aspects of war profiteering – the reaping of financial benefits from conflict and war – for three days of mutual learning and network building.