Liisa Jaakonsaari (SDP), a Member of the European Parliament, has questioned the assurances given by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä that human rights remain a priority of the armament export policy of the Finnish Government.
Helsingin Sanomat reported yesterday that domestic armament manufacturers have exported sniper rifles to a number of countries involved in the Yemeni Civil War with the permission of the Government. The Government, the newspaper added, has also granted permits for the exports of armaments to dictatorships in Central Asia, representing a clear deviation from its previous export policy.
“How can the premier claim that the human rights perspective is a priority for the armaments export policy of the Government?” asks Jaakonsaari.
Jaakonsaari describes in her blog her visit to one of the destination countries for armament exports from Finland, Turkmenistan. “The President has his eyes and ears everywhere. The country is still gripped by a horrendous, real climate of fear. Turkmenistan is one of the most dismal dictatorships in the world where human rights are practically non-existent,” she writes.
“Finland has also exported arms to Uzbekistan,” she adds. “There has been a clear shift in the armament export policy of Finland.”
SaferGlobe Finland, meanwhile, reported yesterday that the Middle East has overtaken the European Union as the most valuable destination for armament exports from Finland for the first time since it began compiling the statistics in 2001.
Sipilä denied allegations of a shift in the armament export policy of Finland during his weekly interview on YLE Radio 1 on Sunday.
“There has been no policy shift. The Finnish Government reviews every case individually and complies with international treaties. We are also following closely what other European countries are doing. We will clarify our position in the event of changes in the human rights situation of those countries,” he said.
The Left Youth of Finland demanded yesterday that the permits to export armaments to conflict-ravaged countries that are “notorious” for human rights violations, such as Saudi-Arabia and Turkey, be revoked.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi