Beyond the kerfuffle over the off-key G8 poverty reduction programs perhaps naively endorsed by Bob Geldof and Bono (more on that below) — Amnesty Int’l’s report today accuses G8 nations of supplying arms to human rights violators. G8 sales account for 84% of all worldwide arms supplies.


The hands of the G8 countries are imbrued with the blood of the world’s most desperate people:

G8 nations [undermine] commitments to poverty reduction, stability and human rights with irresponsible arms exports to some of the world’s poorest and most conflict-ridden countries … including Sudan, Myanmar (Burma), the Republic of Congo, Colombia and the Philippines.


On the eve of a [June 23-24 London] meeting of G8 foreign ministers, a new report reveals how the G8 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the USA — [supply] military equipment, weapons and munitions to destinations [that] contribute to gross violations of human rights.


The Guardian has investigated worldwide arms sales in great detail … more below:

The Guardian cites examples of G8 sales:

Both France and Germany have exported arms to countries which are meant to be subject to an EU arms embargo such as Burma, China, and Sudan. Russia, too, sells arms to Sudan as well as to Ethiopia and Iran.


Canada sells military equipment to the US which uses them in weapons exported to countries, such as Colombia, which the Canadian government would not have approved …


[T]he report notes that despite severe internal repression by the Kenyan police, France has exported tear gas to the country – a trade suspended by Britain. Italy has sold small arms to Algeria, as has Japan, a country which officially “does not export any arms whatsoever”.


Japan in fact exports a significant number of small arms, including to Algeria, the Lebanon, and the Philippines, according to the report.


Britain is increasingly approving open-ended arms sales licences, including armoured vehicles to Algeria, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – where armed forces and police have committed persistent human rights violations.


The US continues to export a wide rage of military equipment to Israel and is increasing its military assistance to Pakistan despite risking an arms race with India. …


About the row over Geldof and Bono, PRWatch reports:

The British journalist George Monbiot warns the dangers of the upcoming G8 summit in Scotland are not that the public protests will be dangerous, “but that they will be far too polite.

Let me be more precise. The danger is that we will follow the agenda set by Bono and Bob Geldof.”

While Monbiot acknowledges the pair are “genuinely committed to the cause of poverty reduction” and have raised money and awareness in support of it, Monbiot points to the singers’ response to the G7 finance ministers’ debt-relief package for the world’s poorest countries. “Anyone with a grasp of development politics who had read and understood the ministers’ statement could see that the conditions it contains – enforced liberalisation and privatisation – are as onerous as the debts it relieves.

“But Bob Geldof praised it as ‘a victory for the millions of people in the campaigns around the world’ and Bono pronounced it ‘a little piece of history’.

“Like many of those who have been trying to highlight the harm done by such conditions – especially the African campaigners I know – I feel betrayed by these statements. Bono and Geldof have made our job more difficult,” Monbiot writes [in The Guardian on June 21, 2005].



Of note: The Guardian has a special report section on illegal arms sales.


LINKS:

  • The official site for the G8 summit at the Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland from July 6-8, 2005.
  • An umbrella site for “G8 Summit 2005: Dissent! Update.”
  • Indymedia’s UK action site for numerous protests.
  • One.org’s site on the anti-poverty/G8 campaign
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