GENEVA – The Geneva Council of Rights and Liberties expressed its disappointment today on the Swiss Senate’s rejection of two proposals calling for a stricter framework for the export of arms and war materiel, including those involved in the war against Yemen.
The Geneva Council expressed its regrets that Switzerland placed its economic interests before its legal and moral responsibilities towards countries that perpetrate horrible war crimes against civilians using Swiss weapons.
The GCRL added that the Swiss Senate should reverse its shameful position and force the government to respect its European commitments on the sale of arms, especially in conflict zones.
In response to a recommendation of the Security Policy Committee of the Upper House of the Swiss Federal Parliament, the Senate voted on Monday against two proposals : the first proposed that the directives on the export of arms be decided by Parliament and no longer by the government, and therefore subject to optional referendum. (20 against 17 muwaida and 6) The second demanded to strengthen controls on exports of war material (22 against 16 for and 5 pending).
The Commission justified its recommendations mainly by the existence of a popular initiative that voters have not yet decided its fate, it is an initiative not to export weapons to countries in civil war, the committee also indicated that it did not want to preclude the debate on this initiative before launching an alternative initiative.
The Geneva Council of Rights and Freedoms declared that Swiss weapons were used in conflict areas after being exported to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Pakistan, although they were likely to lead to violations of humanitarian law.
The Geneva Council added that the continuity of arms sales by Switzerland to Saudi Arabia resulted in a concrete contribution to the bloody war that killed and wounded tens of thousands of civilians and plunged the country to the brink of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
The Geneva Council noted that it had already called on all European countries, including Switzerland, to cease all arms sales to Saudi Arabia until the Riyadh-led coalition ends its illegal attacks and investigate the accountability of those that had already been perpetrated against Yemeni civilians.
A large number of European countries have stopped arms sales to Saudi Arabia, including Germany, the Netherlands and Austria. On 25 October, the European Parliament called for a unified EU position banning arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
The Geneva Council stressed that Switzerland should support human rights as an essential element of its foreign policy, despite the high political and economic price that is likely to arise after the cessation of arms exports in conflict zones such as the war in Yemen.
The Geneva Council also pointed out that Switzerland should not be part of the multi-billion dollar arms deals used by Saudi Arabia to buy the silence of arms exporting countries over its serious human rights violations against Yemeni civilians .