Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia sells weapons to Saudi-led coalition, is complicit in human rights abuses

Australia’s arms deals ignoring ‘gross violations of human rights’, ex-defence official says https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/08/australias-arms-deals-ignoring-gross-violations-of-human-rights-ex-defence-official-says?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=soc_568&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1567888161  

Defence department says it provides export permits only if satisfied that the weapons will not be used in breach of international law   Ben Doherty, 8 Sept 19,    A former secretary of the Australian defence department says the country cannot justify selling weapons to militaries involved in the five-year war in Yemen, which now stand “accused of gross violations of human rights and likely war crimes by the UN”.

And the Australian co-author of the just-released United Nations report into human rights atrocities in Yemen has said governments that sell weapons to belligerent countries are responsible for prolonging the conflict and contributing to immense humanitarian suffering.

The report found that the conflict had been plagued by human rights abuses, including hospitals being bombed, civilians being deliberately targeted by shelling and sniper fire, civilian populations being deliberately starved, medical supplies being blocked, rape, murder, enforced disappearances, torture, and children being forced to fight.

Australia is one of several countries that sell weapons to those that are part of the Saudi-led Coalition in conflict with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Australian government says it imposes strict controls on exports to ensure they are not used in the Yemeni conflict.

But the former secretary of the department of defence Paul Barratt told Guardian Australia that regardless of whether Australian-made weapons were crossing the border into Yemen, “the fact remains that Australia now has a national policy which seeks and facilitates weapons sales with countries that stand accused of gross violations of human rights and likely war crimes”.

“When did this particular trade in arms become official Australian policy? Even if we are successfully legally tiptoeing around the Arms Trade Treaty, such deals surely cannot be acceptable on moral or ethical grounds,” Barratt said. “As a country that routinely asks other countries to abide by the rules-based international order, it would seem hypocritical, at best, that Australia is now willing to … make a profit from, weapons sales to nations that are openly flouting this international order.”

Melissa Parke, the former federal MP for Fremantle, was one of three UN-appointed experts to compile its report on Yemen.

The report said hospitals had been bombed, civilians attacked and starvation used as a tactic of war, and alleged that there had been a “collective failure” from the international community to intervene in the five-year war to reduce the suffering of civilians; rather, support from international actors had prolonged the conflict. The public report detailed a list of the key military, political participants in the conflict. A confidential list of those most likely to be complicit in war crimes has been sent to the UN.

Parke said Yemeni civilians had “borne the brunt” of a brutal conflict that was being exacerbated by international indifference, and material support from some governments.

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September 8, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, religion and ethics, weapons and war

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