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Report on the Netherlands for ENAAT, Helsinki June 2011
The Campagne tegen Wapenhandel still consists of 3 people: Mark Akkerman and Wendela de Vries in Amsterdam, Frank Slijper in Groningen. We work closely together with the editors of the Dutch VredesMagazine (Kees Kalkman, AMOK) and with Martin Broek who is now a freelance journalist investigator. We are part of the Dutch Control Arms Coalition which consists of IKV PaxChristi, OxfamNovib and Amnesty International Nederland (and occasionally red Cross Netherlands and Unicef). We are funded by some small funds, individual donations and paid research.
We contributed many articles for the WRI War profiteer Newsletter and we put a lot of articles on the ENAAT mailing list and on the Arms Trade (with Israel) mailing list of BDS Movement.
In March we finally launched our new, re-styled website, with a new (English language) weblog. We have also stepped into the new social media (mainly Facebook) where we tell our 'friends' about activities, new reports and blog posts, and were they can 'like' articles on the increase of arms trade. In 2010 we featured in more than 30 press articles, eight radio and three TV programmes. We
presented lectures and workshops on nine occasions and wrote 19 articles for national and international magazines.
We plan to launch a new website on European military relations with Israel later this month. We organised a protest at the EADS annual shareholders meeting in Amsterdam and organised questioning of EADS CEO's together with Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen. We had a picket line outside the prestigious Okura hotel were the meeting was held. Our activists shareholders arrived in style - by bicycle taxis. We used the opportunity to question EADS' involvement in the arms business, including the French nuclear weapons and exports to all sides in the current Libyan war (NATO plus other allies; rebels; and the Khadaffi regime). We received solidarity messages from many countries which were used in our publicity.
- European technology arming the world - European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company EADS [May 2011, in English]
Published on occasion of the 2011 EADS shareholders meeting. EADS is an example of formerly national organised defence industries merging for more profit and better access to export markets. EADS is contaminated with all the disgraces of the arms industry: it sells weapons to human rights violators, it produces nuclear weapons and it is subject to fraud investigations.
- Free traffic - Dutch arms transit under the General Customs Law [January 2011, in Dutch]
Overview of military goods transported through Dutch territory (mainly Schiphol airport and the port of Rotterdam), revealing loopholes under new legislation introduced in 2009. Main point of critique: transfers from/to allied nations (EU, NATO+, more than 90% of the transit) gets no proper check despite widely diverging interpretations of arms export criteria. Leading to e.g. 20,000 Czech rifles
that were shipped through Rotterdam to Sri Lanka, just prior to the final stage of the civil war. In a debate with parliament Dutch government recently promised to repair that loophole, but how they will do this is unclear so far.
- The emergence of the new mercenary [January 2011, in Dutch]
This report is a first ever overview of Dutch private military and security companies (PMSC), in the context of current legislation. It shows relations with other countries (training in Israel and Slovenia e.g.) and the diverging range of activities at home and abroad. The report received much media attention, partly as it coincided with the release of a report by a government advisory body on piracy and the security of sea transport.
- Rhetoric or Restraint: Trade in military equipment under the EU transfer control system [November 2010, in English]
Collaborative effort, a.k.a. the Black Book, by European groups presenting number of wide-ranging cases showing the serious deficits in arms export control. Presented after a conference meeting with COARM officials.
- Analysis Dutch arms export 2009 [November 2010, in Dutch]
For the second year in a row Dutch arms exports peaked to record height: 1.4 billion euro in 2009. The growth is structural as well: The value for the period 2005-2009 is 76% higher than for 2000-2004. SIPRI ranks the Netherlands as the world's 6th largest exporter for a 5-year period. Largest export licence was for a 555 million frigate deal with Morocco. Turkey, Jordan, Taiwan and Thailand are
other main destinations (see also table on next page).
- The development criterion for arms exports [October 2010 factsheet in Dutch]
Prepared for a meeting with government and industry officials and NGO's at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presenting our case for a much larger role for criterion 8 in arms export decision making. So far the criterion is nothing more than a fig-leaf, as also the ministry's own audit agency concluded in an evaluation of Dutch arms export policy.
Apart from these reports, we worked a lot on a chemical weapons proliferation research project for a UK international human rights organisation.
Also we continued to advise the Dutch part of the Cluster Munition Coalition, especially around their lobby on disinvestment and to prohibit transit of cluster munition over Dutch territory.
We wrote a report on Arms Transit wich gave an evaluation of the new Costums Law, which was introduced in 2008. In a response to our research the undersecretary of Economic Affairs admitted that allies sometimes approved on transfers which should not have been allowed when application for a license had been checked against Dutch policy. We are awaiting government proposals for
As in many European countries, Dutch public opinion was shocked to learn that Dutch arms were sold to Arab regimes. Thanks to the brave people in Tunesia, Egypt, Bahrain and Libya now for the first time we had a lot of parliamentary support for the position that arms should not be sold to regimes which violate human rights or repress their opposition. It is to be seen if and how the government will really change its policy, as it has promised parliament. And how long we can keep the attention and support of parliamentarians now that the democratic movements in Arab countries are now longer front page news.