U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Question of Principle: Arms Trade and Human Rights

NCJ Number
Human Rights Watch Volume: 12 Issue: 5(A) Dated: October 2000 Pages: 1-47
Date Published
October 2000
49 pages
This analysis of the South African government’s policies and practices related to arms exports and its progress in establishing arms transfer policies that are supportive of human rights and concludes that the government should take four actions to help address current inconsistencies and thereby deny its weapons to all abusers of human rights.
South Africa has taken firm positions in three areas consistent with its policies on human rights and international humanitarian law: (1) banning landmines, (2) curbing the spread and abuse of small arms, and (3) curbing the activities of mercenaries. However, it has provided military assistance and weapons to armed forces with a record of committing serious human rights abuses and violating international humanitarian law. In addition, it has limited its public accountability in this area through actions such as resisting decision making or even an advisory role for parliament with respect to arms transfers. Therefore, South Africa should establish a statutory framework for the current system of arms export control and associated policy commitments. It also should strengthen the capacity of government officials to provide human rights input into the process of decision making. In addition, increase the involvement of parliament and civil society in decisions relating to arms exports. Finally, it should make a greater commitment to transparency. List of specific recommendations, footnotes, and list of other publications from the same organization