Accessibility links

Amnesty International Urges Ban on Arms Sales to Sudan

  • Michael Drudge

The human rights group Amnesty International is calling on the U.N. Security Council to forbid arms sales to Sudan, saying foreign weapons are fueling massive human rights violations in the Darfur region.

In a report issued Tuesday, Amnesty International says some of the world's biggest arms exporting countries are providing the Sudanese government with weapons that have been used to commit atrocities against civilians in the western Darfur region.

The report says such major powers as China and Russia have sold Sudan military aircraft, while France has sold small arms. It says other military sales have come from Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, and Saudi Arabia, while India and Malaysia have provided military training to Sudan.

An arms trade researcher for Amnesty International, Brian Wood, says the U.N. Security Council should pass a resolution banning weapons sales to Sudan when it meets in Nairobi later this week.

He says, "The Security Council this week should take urgent action to apply a full United Nations mandatory arms embargo on Sudan, with a robust monitoring mechanism. We've look at the draft resolution that's going before the Council and so far the language is too weak. The resolution is calling for urgent action, but it doesn't specify what urgent action."

Mr. Wood says the United States, which currently holds the rotating Security Council presidency, could be the key to winning Chinese and Russian support for a stronger worded resolution.

He says, "If the United States decides to act resolutely, we think that the other members of the Security Council will join with them and it will then be an issue of whether the governments of Russia and China are prepared to try to protect the people of Sudan and make this decision happen."

Amnesty International says its report is based on testimony of hundreds of Darfurians left homeless in the fighting between black rebel groups and government-backed Arab militias, as well as commercial documents and U.N. arms trade data.

The report concludes that Sudan's oil revenues have been used to purchase expensive military equipment such as bombers and helicopters. It points out that some suppliers of weapons and training -- China, India and Malaysia - also import oil from Sudan.