Dutch arms trade in breach of EU rules

RNW.nl, 11 November 2009. The Netherlands exports armaments to several countries involved in armed conflict or where there are serious human rights violations and is regularly in breach of EU rules, according to a new report by Dutch Campaign Against Arms Trade (CtW), an independent organisation that strives for the reduction of the international arms trade. Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia are among the countries which purchased millions of euros-worth of armaments from the Netherlands. A radar was apparently sold to Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The report claims 2008 was a record year for arms sales, with exports amounting to 1.25 billion euros.

CtW, which has links with European Network against Arms Trade, also claims that the Netherlands is an important transit country for other arms-exporting countries. Dutch authorities do not take action when large shipments of arms are uncovered at Rotterdam port or at Schiphol Airport, the report says. In one case, a mass shipment of munitions from the US was permitted to travel on to Georgia, just weeks before the war against Russia broke out.

The Netherlands is the seventh largest armaments exporter in the world. The US tops the list, followed by Russia, Germany, France, Great Britain and Spain.