Norwegian arms exports criticized

March 29, 2006 at 3:18 PM
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OSLO, Norway, March 29 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government is being pressured to introduce stricter arms export controls.

Norway in 2004 exported nearly $300 million of armaments to 43 countries, most of which was ammunition for light weapons.

Amnesty International Norway and Norwegian Church Aid are demanding that Norway's Stortinget, parliament, tighten up control over Norwegian arms exports. A new Amnesty International report shows that Norwegian arms exports often wind up in illegal conflicts, which is contrary to Norwegian law.

The Norway Post on Wednesday quoted Norwegian Church Aid Secretary General Atle Sommerfeldt as observing that currently there is no guarantee that Norwegian arms exports don't end up in the wrong hands, whether in Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo or Sudan's Darfur region.

Amnesty's Secretary General, Petter Eide, said that the first thing parliament could actually do would be insist that the current weapons export regulations be strictly enforced.

Norwegian human rights activists are pressing for a recipient's human rights record to be vetted prior to the supply of any Norwegian armaments.

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