23rd September 2017, London – Transparency International Defence and Security welcomes the pledge by Heckler & Koch to no longer sell arms to corrupt states, and calls on the wider defence industry to make similar commitments.
The German firm has announced that it will use Transparency International corruption assessments as one of three indicators to decide which states to sell weapons to, in what is believed to be an industry first. Heckler & Koch should now publicly announce the exact criteria of this move, as well as which countries this will apply to, ensuring full transparency and accountability.
Transparency International’s research has found that selling arms to corrupt states can perpetuate conflict and lead to deadly weapons falling into the wrong hands. This can fuel violent conflict and terrorism, with repercussions both domestically and internationally.
Transparency International’s most recent “Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index” found 70% of states assessed for risk of defence corruption are either at high, very high or critical risk. Defence spending is growing fastest in states at the highest risks of defence corruption with real implications for human suffering.
Katherine Dixon, Director Transparency International Defence and Security, said:
“If implemented fully, this is a welcome pledge from Heckler & Koch. This sort of due diligence should be the norm for defence companies. But it’s important that this commitment is more than just a PR exercise. The best way to ensure this is to provide full transparency over the criteria and which companies they will no longer sell to.”
“It should be difficult for any responsible defence company or State to justify exporting to countries which don’t implement the minimum transparency and accountability mechanisms to achieve at least a D on TI’s defence anti-corruption index. Introducing lethal weapons into unaccountable and corrupt environments is a recipe for disaster. Defence companies and the governments that license their exports have the power and responsibility to make a difference in these states and reduce human suffering; we encourage them to use it’.”
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