Exports of war materials may constitute a breach of human rights
The Group for a Switzerland without an Army (GSoA) repeated their demand to stop all exports of war materials because of the increase of such products from Switzerland during the last year. Only such a prohibition would avoid a situation where Switzerland is responsible for fuelling conflicts and supporting wars, Reto Moosmann from the organisation on 18 February 2008 told the press . He added that their people's initiative for the prohibition of exports of war materials should be voted on as quickly as possible.
Exports also to conflict regions
The export of war materials increased by more than 16 percent over the last year. Switzerland exported war materials to the value of about 464 million Swiss Francs to 66 countries. Again, countries in war or conflict situations and countries with a poor human rights record were included, such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the entire Middle East. Even the Arab Emirates, who already received weapons in 2005 that were later sold to Morocco, were once again on the list of buyers for Swiss weapons.
The case of Chad
Switzerland sold a PC-9 aircraft to Chad, under the condition that this plane would only be used to train pilots. Unfortunately, Chad allegedly equipped the aircraft with weapons and used it as a fighter plane in attacks on Darfur. This example once again shows the high risk business of exporting material that can be used for military purposes. It is particularly cynical that on the one hand Chad is one of the priority countries in Swiss development cooperation and on the other hand a Swiss fighter plane was apparently used to bomb Darfur.
PC-9 aircrafts to be classified as war material
This sale was possible, because the export of PC-9 aircrafts does not fall under the law on war material and because the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) agreed to the problematic sale. The Seco approved this export even though in the past there were already cases where planes that were meant for civilian purposes were used for military purposes. When the sale was agreed Chad were permitted to use them for peaceful purposes only. «We should have realised beforehand that the military regime (in Chad) would be unreliable», stated Josef Lang of the Green Party, «it had violated other international agreements before - with the United Nations for example.» Lang will hand in a motion duing the spring session of Parliament to put the PC-9 under the law on war material.
Chad likely armed Swiss-made aircraft
swissinfo, 17 January 2008
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swissinfo, 20 February 2008
- Chad likely armed Swiss-made aircraft
Defencetalk.com, 22 January 2008
- War materials
Information by Seco on legislation