Nations Exporting Arms To Saudi Arabia, Israel 'Brazenly Flout' Int'l Rules - Watchdog

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st August, 2018) The United States, EU countries and other nations exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia and Israel blatantly violate international rules and risk being implicated in related war crimes, a prominent rights watchdog said on Monday.

The statement comes as the Fourth Conference of States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) opened in Tokyo earlier in the day. The event is slated to last through Friday.

"The Arms Trade Treaty states clearly that arms exports are prohibited if there is a real risk of them contributing to human rights violations. States who continue to supply arms to Saudi Arabia and Israel are therefore brazenly flouting the rules," Amnesty Internationals researcher on arms control and human rights, Patrick Wilcken, said as quoted in a statement.

The watchdog expressed concerns that the United Kingdom, France and the United States refuse to halt their arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite "a litany of possible war crimes carried out" by the Riyadh-led coalition in Yemen.

The statement also notes that the United States, as well as other ATT signatories, including Germany, France, Italy, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and South Korea, continue arming Israel, whose armed forces are involved in disproportionate use of force against Palestinians.

In the light of the opening ATT conference, the watchdog pointed to the lack of transparency demonstrated by the treatys signatories, some of which tend to "keep their reports [on arms sales] confidential" and others omitting information on commercial or national security grounds."

The watchdog also voiced concerns over arms exports to Cameroon, Nicaragua, and the Philippines over alleged rights violations in these countries.

ATT is an international treaty that sets standards governing arms transfers. The treaty, which entered into force in December 2014, has 130 signatories, 97 of which have ratified the treaty.