Swiss government-owned weapons company Ruag is under pressure after reports emerged that ammunition exports to Qatar are being used by Libyan rebels, violating Swiss law.

 

"/> Swiss government-owned weapons company Ruag is under pressure after reports emerged that ammunition exports to Qatar are being used by Libyan rebels, violating Swiss law.

 

" />
SHARE
COPY LINK

WEAPONS

Swiss weapons being used in Libya

Swiss government-owned weapons company Ruag is under pressure after reports emerged that ammunition exports to Qatar are being used by Libyan rebels, violating Swiss law.

 

Swiss weapons being used in Libya
RUAG

According to a report broadcast last week on Swiss TV station SF, Qatar has apparently broken end-user agreements by re-exporting the Swiss bullets, made in Ruag’s Ammotec plant in Thun, south of Bern, to Libya.

Swiss law forbids any weapons to be sold to countries in conflict, while the United Nations has placed an arms embargo on Libya.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), which handles export agreements, has now reacted to the report by stopping all weapons exports to Qatar, pending an investigation into how the bullets landed in Libyan rebel hands. 

It is thought that the ammunition originates from 2009, when Switzerland sold 1.85 million francs ($2.3 million) worth of ammunition to Qatar. Last year, Swiss weapons-makers made deals with the gulf state worth over half a million francs.

But Swiss opposition parties are not satisfied with SECO’s decision. The Green Party’s Jo Lang, a member of a security policy committee of the Swiss parliament, is calling for a total ban on weapons exports to the entire Middle East and the Maghreb region.

Lang fears Swiss weapons could also be used to suppress democracy movements in the region.

Christian Democrat Jakob Büchler, speaker of the security policy committee, called the re-export of Ruag ammunition an “unpleasant isolated case.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

WEAPONS

Swiss weapons exports up 38 percent despite pandemic

Switzerland’s weapons exports have seen a 38 percent increase in 2020, according to official government figures.

Swiss weapons exports up 38 percent despite pandemic
Swiss weapons exports are on track for their highest year on record. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland exported CHF690 worth of weapons over the first nine months of 2020. That’s a 38 percent increase on the CHF500 million sold over the corresponding period in 2019. 

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) published the figures on Tuesday

The biggest customers for Swiss weaponry were Denmark, Indonesia and Germany. 

In total, 76 countries bought Swiss weapons during the period. 

According to current figures, weapons exports are on track to be the highest in Swiss history – beating the record of CHF893 million set in 2011. 

‘Death business is flourishing’ 

The news has been heavily criticised by a number of non-government organisations critical of weapons being sold to countries at war or who may use them against their own citizens. 

The Organisation for Switzerland without an Army (GSOA) and Terre des Hommes have been critical of the figures, particularly as the industry has called for a decrease in regulation in recent years. 

GSOA wrote in a statement “the death business is flourishing”. 

Saudi Arabia – currently involved in a conflict in Yemen – appear on the list, along with Brazil. Weapons opponents are concerned the Swiss exports could be used in the country’s slums, Der Bund reports

 

 

SHOW COMMENTS