Britse clusterbommen ook in Afrika gebruikt

Opmerking bij alle ABN-AMRO clusterbommen artikelen op deze pagina’s.
In februari 2004 maakte de ABN bekend zich terug te trekken uit INSYS.

Britse clusterbommen ook in Afrika gebruikt


Uit onderzoek van de Britse organisaties Oxfam en Landmine Action is gebleken dat Britse clusterbommen ook in Afrika zijn gebruikt (zie onderstaand bericht). De bommen zijn gebouwd door Hunting Engineering, dat sinds kort Insys heet, en zijn door de Ethiopische luchtmacht afgeworpen tijdens de oorlog met buurland Eritrea.
Zoals wij onlangs bekend maakten is ABN Amro mede-eigenaar van dit bedrijf (zie persbericht en artikel uit de Groene Amsterdammer ). De clusterbommen zijn verkocht aan een groot aantal NAVO landen, Pakistan, Joegoslavië, Saoedi-Arabië en Nigeria. Het bedrijf zegt geen flauw idee te hebben hoe de bommen in Ethiopische handen terecht zijn gekomen.
Insys is ook betrokken bij de productie van anti-tankmijnen, die net als clusterbommen nog jaren na afloop van een conflict burgers blijven doden.
Mensenrechten- en vredesorganisatie pleiten al lang voor een verbod op het gebruik van deze omstreden wapens. Ondanks het ethische beleid dat ABN Amro zegt te voeren, ziet de bank in de activiteiten van Insys tot dusver geen enkele reden om hun belang te verkopen. PvdA-er Koenders heeft eerder al Kamervragen over de kwestie gesteld.

UK bomblets surround refuge camp ERITREA,
26 mar 02 (Guardian)
By Richard Norton-Taylor,4273,4381801,00.html

Thousands of refugees in a camp in western Eritrea are living among unexploded cluster bombs, a dangerous and sometimes fatal legacy of the war with Ethiopia, mine-clearance and aid, agencies say. The bombs, produced by an arms manufacturer in Bedford, have been found lying around the Korokon refugee camp by Oxfam and Landmine Action.

In a report published yesterday they warn that unexploded weapons such as cluster bombs pose as big a threat to civilians as mines. Since January 2001 the Halo Trust, a mine-clearing agency, has exploded 402 of the bomblets, known as BL755s, found at a refugee camp at Korokon. The bombs were made by the Hunting Engineering group, now Insys. They were sold to 17 different countries, including eight Nato members and Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Yugoslavia and Switzerland. An Insys spokesman said yesterday none were sold directly to the Ethiopian government and all the sales were approved by the Ministry of Defence, which was originally directly responsible for the sales. He said the bombs in Etrirea were BL755s, but added: “We haven’t the faintest idea where they came from.”

This means that another government sold them on to Ethiopia, says Oxfam. “The question to ask is whether the government has adequate systems in place to find out who this was and to stop it from happening again,” its spokesman Sam Barratt said yesterday. “The answer is they simply do not know how they got to the Eritrean refugee camp. Our system of end-use monitoring is clearly open to abuse,” he added. “This is simply is not good enough for the world’s second largest arms exporter”.

Child cattle herders at the Korokon camp walk through heavily cluster-bombed areas, according to the aid agencies which contributed to the Landmine Action report. Some children have been taking the bright copper charges from the bomblets and using them as cow bells. They try to prise out the charges from the bomblets and hang two of the copper cones together on a string around an animals neck to make a bell, the report says. In September last year a 16- year-old boy, Golam, was killed by one of the cluster bombs lying around the camp, according to Oxfam. He was apparently trying to crack one of the bomblets open with a stone when it went off. It blew off his arm and gave him severe head injuries. He died before an ambulance could reach him. Aid and mine-clearance agencies found 20 bomblets in one of the children’s dens at the camp.

In May 2000 the Ethiopian air force bombed Korokon refugee camp, dropping cluster bombs in an area where 7,000 people were living. Each one contains an estimated 147 bomblets. Oxfam and Landmine Action estimate that 47 people have been killed by unexploded ordnance in Eritrea. “Eritrea demonstrates what happens when you have sieve-like arms export controls,” Mr Barratt said.

Aid agencies and arms control groups say the government’s export control bill now going through parliament fails to address the issue of monitoring where British weapons end up. “Unexploded ordnance are a forgotten but lethal legacy of every war. Thousands of people around the world must live with the constant threat as they go about their daily lives,” Richard Lloyd, director of Landmine Action, said.

Roger Berry, chairman of the Commons select committee investigating British arms exports, has tabled a series of questions to ministers demanding to know how British-made cluster bombs managed to be dropped on an Eritrean refugee camp. Guardian Unlimited (c) Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002

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