"A lot of weapons trafficked through Schiphol"
Development organisation Oxfam urges the Netherlands to step up weapons controls.
17 December 2007
THE HAGUE – Checks have become better, but a great many weapon shipments are still passing through the Dutch airport of Schiphol. Oxfam Novib reported on Monday that more than 2,000 weapon transports took place via Schiphol in 2006.
The Netherlands should follow the example of France, Spain and others and monitor the shipment of weapons to and from friendly nations, the development organisation said. 30 percent of the shipments in 2006 were "extremely large," according to Oxfam Novib.
A number of them went to Israel, Bangladesh, Chile and other "worrying" destinations. Oxfam urged the Netherlands last year as well to step up its checks.
The largest shipper of weapons through the Netherlands is the United States. The Customs Authority does not monitor these or any other shipments from NATO countries, Oxfam Novib says.
This is also the case for all EU countries and other friendly nations like Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand and Japan. A Swedish research institute calculated that 60 percent of all weapon exports can be attributed to these countries.
The countries where the weapons end up often have a dubious reputation when it comes to observing human rights. Oxfam cited Bangladesh as an example, where illegal executions take place.
Oxfam Novib also maintains that weapon shipments to Israel continued as usual during the war in Lebanon, where serious violations of humanitarian law and human rights took place.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news