Under pressure from rights activists, German weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch says it will end its sales to war zones or the parties that are corrupt and breach democratic standards, including the regimes in Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The company announced its new policy in its most recent annual report, stating that it will now only sell to “green countries” and those that met Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index as well as the Economist Intelligence Unit’s democracy index.
The bans list also includes Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia or any African countries.
Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have a history of breaching the territorial integrity of different countries and massacre of innocent civilians.
In its latest acts of aggression, Tel Aviv has waged three wars on the Gaza Strip since 2008, including one in 2014, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.
Saudi Arabia has been engaged in a bloody war in Yemen, which has killed more than 12,000 deaths since March 2015. Much of Yemen’s infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due to the war.
Veteran anti-arms-trade campaigner Jurgen Grasslin told Radio Sputnik that “Heckler & Koch has been exporting arms since 1955 to nearly every crisis or war area worldwide. Nearly 2 million people are killed and more than 5 million injured by H&K weapons around the world, and one person gets killed by Heckler & Koch bullet every 13 minutes.”
When asked by Sputnik about the possible reasons for the company’s surprise decision, he said that the company has been under strong pressure from the peace movement in Germany and that its image has been “so terrible” that it finally decided to stop selling arms to problem countries.
Grasslin also told The Guardian that Heckler & Koch “is a company that had one of the most terrible reputations – in all the podium discussions I’ve done in the last few years, the other arms companies used to say, ‘We’re not like Heckler & Koch, we’re morally better.’”