16 June 2005
BRUSSELS — Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has rebuked Belgium for its shipment of 5,000 machine guns to Nepal in 2002.
Amnesty said the shipment violated the Belgian arms export laws and the European Code of Conduct.
The Belgian arms law forbids the granting of an export licence if it contributes to human rights violations, broadcaster VRT reported on Thursday.
It also forbids the export when the country of destination might disintegrate into civil war, is already in civil war or has a government that supports acts of terror.
Amnesty said the Nepalese authorities are using the guns to kill, torture and kidnap thousands of the nation’s citizens.
The human rights watchdog and the European Commission has identified an armed conflict is being waged between the Nepalese government and Maoist guerrilla forces.
The controversial shipment of arms to Nepal came under heavy political criticism in Belgium at the time it was agreed.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news