“The Australian Government’s response so far to Amnesty International’s concerns about arms sales to Saudi Arabia has amounted to blatantly brushing us off”
– Amnesty International Australia’s Crisis Campaigns Coordinator Diana Sayed
Responding to reports that Germany has suspended all future arms deals with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and ahead of the Defence Department appearing at Senate Estimates tomorrow, Amnesty International Australia’s Crisis Campaigns Coordinator Diana Sayed said,
“We welcome the Australian Government’s decision not to attend the economic forum ‘Davos in the Desert’ in Saudi Arabia this week in light of Washington Post columnist and journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. However, the Australian Government must also suspend all arms transfers to Saudi Arabia.
“We have been calling on the Australian Government for some time now to publicly report the exact nature of all arms transfers to Saudi Arabia to date and to its allies in the war in Yemen, and to cease the authorisation of any future arms transfers while there remains a substantial risk these arms will be used to fuel human rights abuses.
“The Government’s response so far to our concerns about arms sales to Saudi Arabia has amounted to blatantly brushing us off.
“Amnesty International and others have documented endless laws, policies and individual cases in Saudi Arabia where the government and its officials have similarly flouted people’s right to life, equality, justice – and practically any other human right.
“Yet Australia chooses to wilfully ignore all of the human rights violations committed by Saudi Arabia and continue to expand military exports to the Kingdom – with 18 licenses approved to date.
“There is reluctance on the Government’s part to exercise transparency in its arms exports trade and this is incredibly worrying. It must cease all military exports to Saudi Arabia.
“We also urge Turkey to ask UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish a United Nations investigation into the possible extrajudicial execution of Jamal Khashoggi.”