The German small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch announced that they will no longer sign contracts to supply arms to countries outside of NATO and NATO members’ partners. In addition, they will only sell weapons to countries that are democratic and free of corruption.
This change of strategy means that they will no longer deal with countries such as Saudi Arabia, which is known for its human rights abuses, as well as other countries like Brazil and India.
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has sought to curb the sale of tanks and small arms since he took office in 2013. He has argued that assault rifles, such as those manufactured by Heckler & Koch, are among the favored weapons in conflicts around the world.
This move comes at a time when companies and countries that export weapons to human rights abusers are coming under renewed calls to end the exports. Countries such as Canada and the U.K. are leading arms exporters to Saudi Arabia, where their weapons have allegedly been used to bomb civilians and hospitals in Yemen.
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