Germany has systematically violated arms export regulations for 30 years, researchers announced on Sunday.
“Germany licenses and exports arms and weapons to countries affected by war and crisis, to countries with human rights violations and to areas of tension,” said the Frankfurt Peace Research Institute (PRIF).
A PRIF study examines the consistency of German arms export policies since 1990 and whether they adhere to the eight-point criteria of the European Union when approving arms exports.
Read more: German arms exports – what you need to know
EU criteria include “respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by the final destination country” and “maintaining peace, security and stability in a region.”
Germany “repeatedly violates these criteria,” the study said.
“German weapons systematically appear in war zones and in the hands of dictators,” Greenpeace disarmament expert Alexander Lurz told the French news agency AFP. “We urgently need strict arms export laws that prohibit exports to developing countries and end the destruction of these deliberate and systematic export guidelines.”
Call for legally binding regulations
According to research, there was “a war going on with German weapons and serious human rights violations.”
One example cited by researchers is the September 2014 student protest in Mexico. The police violently attacked and shoot students with G-36 assault rifles from the German company Heckler & Koch. The study also said German-made weapons were being used war in Yemen.
PRIF also said the old stock of the Bundeswehr armed forces and the former East German National People’s Army was partly transferred to countries who are not members of the EU or NATO.
“The general ban from 1971 on supplying weapons of war from Germany to non-NATO countries has given way to a complex set of rules consisting of laws, political principles and various procedures, which are supplemented by further regulations at the level Europe and internationally, “said the study.
60% approval rate
Since 1990, arms exports to developing countries have been approved on a large scale.
“Such cases should actually be an exception, but with a licensing rate of around 60%, they have become a rule in recent years,” the study said.
The authors call for legally binding and export-binding arms export control laws, “which then must also be enforced legally so German arms exports don’t end in problematic developing countries. “
PRIF – one of the largest peace research institutions in Germany – aims to analyze the causes of violent conflict throughout the world and share recommendations with policy makers.
Opposition Left-wing foreign policy expert Sevim Dagdelen called for a general ban on arms exports.
“The entire control system is ill, no matter what coalition the government proposes,” he told AFP.
Within the German federal government, the Ministry of Economy is the main agent for arms exports.
Refusing to elaborate further on this study, a ministry spokesman told AFP: “The federal government is pursuing a limiting and responsible arms export policy.”