Netherlands

Germany has been joined by Finland, Netherlands, and Denmark in a suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The decisions follow the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and announcements by the United Nations that Yemen is experiencing the worst famine the world has seen for 100 years.

Martin Broek

Defence-industries profiting of the Dutch tax laws are double cynical. Apart from ethical objections, the defence industry are evading the very taxes which are uses by their governments to pamper them, buy their product, subsidize their research and facilitate their exports.

In 2009, US president Obama put the Netherlands on his list of the world's worst tax havens. The Dutch government did its utmost to deny this allegation. But the issue was on the agenda and has never disappeared since.

Frank Slijper

After the bloody suppression of protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, the European Union (and the US) ordered an arms embargo that applies until today. From a human rights perspective this is fully justified: the situation remains appalling and attempts at democratic reforms are nipped in the bud. At the same time the embargo is also clearly politically motivated, to keep China as small as possible in military terms. While the economic relationship with China has grown, military co-operation rightly remains a thorny issue. Despite cracks in the embargo it won't be off the table any time soon. Yet it is a question how long the blockade will be maintained with China strengthening its power base.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States annually does a survey on important "transatlantic trends", which can make an interesting read. One of the questions asked is: "Please tell me to what extent do you agree with the following: Under some conditions, was is necessary to obtain justice." (Q29.2). The answers are quite revealing (see graphic below).

Despite the bad weather thousands of Bombspotters have gathered in Kleine Brogel today to denounce the illegal nuclear policy of the Belgian government. They responded to the appeal of Vredesactie and were not intimidated by the massive presence of police and military personnel, kilometres of barbwire, several helicopters and guard dogs that were being deployed in order to try to keep the illegal nuclear policy in place.

Actions for nuclear disarmament at nuclear weapon bases all over Europe

Overview on http://www.bombspotting.org

During the Easter weekend peace organisations all over Europe are staging actions at nuclear weapon bases and command centres, as part of a European Day of Action against nuclear weapons. One month prior to the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) Review Conference, peace movements in all the European countries with nuclear weapons on their territory (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey and the UK) are sending one message: it is time for nuclear disarmament. The continuing deployment of nuclear weapons does not provide more security, but rather encourages the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Over the last two years the Campagne tegen Wapenhandel (the Dutch Campaign Against Arms Trade) has been campaigning against the investments of pension funds in the arms industry. Dutch pension funds are very big investors: together they have 800 milliard Euro to invest. Part of this money goes into arms production. For example in the production of Hellfire missiles by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, in development of new nuclear weapons by Lockheed Martin and BAe, and also in cluster munition.

In this presentation I will give an overview of the right to conscientious objection, its
legal practices and frameworks in the 27 European Union member states. Before I do so, I want to step back a bit and have a brief look at the existing international standards about the right to
conscientious objection, as these standards allow us to put the practices in the EU member states into a perspective.

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