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Amnesty to put pressure on Danish weapon transport policy

The Danish government should make bigger demands for the transportation of weapons by Danish shipping companies, says Amnesty International, who also believes that the Danish shipping companies are a hindrance for the NGO in its work with the new UN rules for weapon transport.

The Danish government needs to be tougher when it comes to dealing with the shipping companies’ transportation of weapons, says Amnesty International, which has initiated an international campaign against the transportation weapons ahead of the UN’s weapons trade conference in July. Amnesty International commends the government for its sensible approach to controlling the import and export of weapons, but criticizes the fact that Danish shipping companies’ transportation of weapons through broker y deals is unregulated internationally.

“Unless there is a direct embargo against the transportation of a certain kind of weapon, there is no control of the Danish shipping companies’ sailing with weapons – neither legal nor illegal. The farther we get from Europe, the poorer the control of the import and export of weapons becomes. Denmark is the world’s sixth biggest transporter of weapons, and there is no doubt that Danish shipping companies are also performing illegal transportations of weapons. The government ought to include this in the international negotiations,” says Joakim Lundström, policy and campaign coordinator at Amnesty International.

Stricter requirements

According to Amnesty International, the consequence of the unregulated transportation of weapons is that weapons are transported without any rules or control and are made available to states and regimes which can use the weapons for suppression, abuse and torture. To avoid this, increased control is necessary.

“It is easy enough to demand control of the sale of weapons, but the sales will go nowhere unless there is someone to transport the weapons. It would suit the Danish government to ask the same requirements of its own businesses as it does of the businesses of the major weapons manufacturing countries, such as China. We cannot simply have a morally justifiable control of import and export of weapons without having the same kind of control with the transportation,” says Joakim Lundström.

International pressure

Amnesty International is putting pressure on governments and shipping companies globally to make them deal with the transportation of weapons ahead of the negotiations in the UN concerning a global weapons treaty (ATT). The demand is not only the certification of shipping companies as transporters of weapons, but the certification of every single case of weapons transportation.

“It is not enough to simply be registered as a weapons transporter. There should be a certification of every single transport, from a central organization, so it won’t be the responsibility of the individual control unit or authority to ensure the authenticity of the certificate. Right now, they are having a very hard time controlling that,” says Joakim Lundström. 

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