The Swiss arms business has reached new record levels. The recipient states also include Countries like Brazil with a highly problematic human rights record. The Switzerland must do its utmost to stop arms deals with Brazil, demands terre des hommes switzerland. The development organization supports the Corrective Action Initiative, which calls for greater democratic control over the export of war materials to civil war countries.
Switzerland exports more weapons than ever before. This is shown by the figures for Export of war material in 2020published by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) on 9 March 2021. In total, war material exports worth around CHF 901 million were approved. This is 24 percent more than in the previous year.
Weapons instead of health
"Although government investment in the health sector should be a priority in the global pandemic, the arms business is booming," criticises Andrea Zellhuber, thematic officer for violence prevention at terre des hommes switzerland. "In the middle of the corona crisis, the business with death is booming."
Last year, Switzerland exported war material worth over CHF 30 million to Brazil alone. This puts Brazil in eighth place among the recipient countries of arms exports from Switzerland.
Brazil a growth market for weapons
With its negligent pandemic policy, the Brazilian government under Jair Bolsonaro has caused horror around the world. Instead of prioritising the health crisis, the ultra-right president is focusing on relaxing national arms laws and lifting import duties on war materials. "Swiss arms manufacturers are doing unscrupulous business in this growth market ", criticises Andrea Zellhuber.
The human rights situation in Brazil highly problematic. In 2019, Brazilian security forces killed 6,357 people. The number of fatal victims of police violence increased for the sixth year in a row. Using highly potent weapons of war, police are waging a "war on drugs and criminals" at the behest of the state. "The security forces often take the law into their own hands and in some cases are directly involved in criminal activities," says Andrea Zellhuber.
Study on gun violence in the murder of teenagers in Brazil
During their operations in the favelas, they often endanger innocent bystanders, often also children and young people. In Rio de Janeiro alone, 62 children were hit by ricochets in gun battles last year, 26 died as a result.
In order to find out where the weapons used in the murder of young people in Brazil come from, terre des hommes switzerland has commissioned a study. The study will be published in May 2021.
Stop exporting arms to problematic countries
"In view of the serious human rights violations in Brazil, Switzerland must do its utmost to stop arms deals with Brazil." terre des hommes switzerland therefore supports the Corrective Action Initiativewhich calls for more democratic control over Swiss arms exports.