Amnesty International is celebrating the Chamber’s vote in favour of a resolution that would suspend arm sales to Saudi Arabia. But this resolution “will die if Wallonia doesn’t back it”, the Human Rights organisation said. Only regional authorities can block exports.
“Walloon MPs have to take responsibility and seize the opportunity to finally get this issue on the agenda”, says Philippe Hensmans, the director of the Belgian French-language section of Amnesty International. “Now is the time for them to put Human rights at the heart of their policies and stop arming executioners. The Saudi regime continues to use torture and other barbaric methods as well as perform a large number of executions, some of them young people. They commit serious human rights violations in Yemen, some of which can be qualified as war crimes, and get away with it”.
The organisation wants Wallonia to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the Walloon decree on arms trade to be revised, “to put in place an efficient and transparent control system, as required by the Arms trade treaty”.
“Walloon authorities have to give clear information on the precise quantity of arms exported, the final user and the number of exports per destination and weapon type. They should also provide their financial value”, says Amnesty International.
On Thursday, the government, the Greens, the cdH (minus one abstention), the sp.a and DéFI voted in favour of a bill that that would “cause deep reflexion” on diplomatic and trade links between Belgium and Saudi Arabia. It would also call on Federal authorities to stop selling arms to the country.