Campaign for an Arms Trade Treaty: Germany
Germany is consistently ranked third, fourth or fifth globally in terms of the value of its conventional arms exports. Though not a permanent member of the UN Security Council, as an economic leader in the EU, a major player in the UN, the Wassenaar Arrangement, OSCE and other multilateral organisations, Germany’s influence in Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations will be significant.
Germany is one of the largest EU exporters of arms to the Middle East and North Africa region. Other key customers include South Africa, Greece, Turkey and other NATO partners, as well as Asian and Latin American countries.
Generally supportive of strict criteria for arms transfers, Germany has nonetheless supplied arms to countries where there is a substantial risk they could be used to commit human rights violations. For example, it supplied armoured vehicles to Yemen and to Libya under al-Gaddafi as well as small arms to Bahrain and Egypt. It has supplied arms and ammunition to Guatemala and to the Philippines.
Position going into the ATT negotiations
Germany’s basic position on the treaty is in line with the EU Common Position on Arms Exports. It also generally supports inclusion of Amnesty International’s Golden Rule. The country has a progressive position on the scope of the treaty and supports the inclusion of small arms and light weapons as well as munitions. Germany has emphasized the need for clarity in the ATT on the responsibility of each state in an arms transaction. As with France and the UK, there is a risk that Germany may succumb to US pressure to water down the ATT text on human rights in order to accommodate China and Russia.