Campaign of the Month: The Outcry Campaign: Stop the arms trade!

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We oppose the export of terror and violence Made in Germany!

German exports of weapons and military equipment have doubled in recent years. Customers include dictatorships and authoritarian regimes in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Germany now ranks third in the worldwide list of weapon-exporting countries. Arms exports are a profitable business, but they do not provide many jobs: only 0.2 per cent of all German employees work in the weapons industry.

Every minute someone in the world dies after being hit by a bullet, a hand grenade or a landmine. Experts have estimated that since World War II over a million deaths have been caused by Heckler & Koch rifles and pistols alone. Countless others have been victims of weapons exported by the many other German arms companies.

German exports of weapons and military equipment have doubled in recent years. The nations that import these and licenses to use them include dictatorships and authoritarian regimes with dire human rights records. Even though the weapons and military equipment may not be used, they are procured at great expense, when this money could have been used for education and for combating poverty. We want to end the export of terror and violence Made in Germany.

The campaign is the joint effort of several German peace organisations. Here are some of their statements:

"The alleged export of 200 Leopard type-2 battle tanks to Saudi-Arabia would send a disastrous message to the peace movement in the Arab world. I am convinced, and indeed this position is shared by both Christian churches (Catholic and Protestant), that supplying weapons and equipment, which is then used in wars and for the purpose of oppression within states by dictatorial regimes, is an ongoing scandal of German economic and foreign policy. In order to achieve the basic goal of banning the arms trade that we have set ourselves in this campaign, we need to be able to rely on a broad range of organisations supporting us" - Margot Käßmann, former leader of the Evangelical Church in Germany and patron of the campaign.

"Our campaign against arms exports reflects the consensus which exists in our society: people do not want Germany arming the world! By permitting weapons exports, the German government acts completely contrarily to the people's opinion. That is what we are making known, until all parties - during the national election campaign in 2013 - come together to put an end to this shamefully-undemocratic behaviour through an effective arms export law" - Christine Hoffmann, Pax Christi’s secretary-general and an Outcry Campaign spokeswoman.

Another spokesperson for the campaign, and for The German Peace Association (DFG-VK) Mr Jürgen Grässlin has condemned the consequences of the G36 rifle produced by Heckler & Koch in countries such as Libya, Mexico, Saudi-Arabia and Georgia: "Two thirds of all victims of war die from bullet wounds. Heckler & Koch, Europe’s largest weapons producer, is selling this deadly rifle across the globe. All means of control have failed. The assault rifle has also made its way illegally to Georgia, Libya and Mexico. The Outcry Campaign is demanding an immediate ban of all rifle exports and a withdrawal of the G36 licence granted to the Saudi Arabian dictatorship.”

We want to end the export of terror and violence Made in Germany. The goals of this campaign against arms exports are the following:

  • Building up pressure from civil society against the German practice of arms exports and showing alternatives to weapons production;
  • Pushing through a requirement to publish any export of weapons and military equipment, be it alleged or official, in order to enable a public debate and a parliamentary decision-making process;
  • Prohibiting arms exports by clarifying law 26(2) of the German Constitution

The Outcry Campaign: Stop the arms trade!, giving the victims a voice and identifying the aggressors, is a long-term initiative and has the following focal points:

  • 2012 – giving the victims a voice and identifying the aggressors
  • 2013 – using the national elections in Germany in order to enshrine the prohibition of arms exports in the German Constitution

In order to give the victims a voice, there are a number of presentations – known as 'witness trips' - with people talking about their own experience, sharing what weapons from German (licence)
production can be used for in states where human rights violations occur.

At our events - at sites involved in arms production and delivery - we will publicise where weapons are produced, who runs and owns the companies, and who the beneficiaries of the arms trade are. We will inform you about the role of the German Federal Security Council (Bundessicherheitsrat), and which politicians are part of it. We will also name the many lobbyists, and the organisations and individuals from the worlds of politics, economics and culture who support them.

How our messages and goals are publicised

Programmes & Projects
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