US urged to stop arms sales to Congo ahead of UN arms trade negotiations

The nonprofit group released a report faulting arms sales from America, France, China and Russia for contributing to “grave human rights abuses” in the African country, including “killings, rape, looting and abductions.” The report comes as the U.N. is scheduled to enter final negotiations in July on an international Arms Trade Treaty that could prevent arms sales even absent a formal U.N. embargo.

The situation in Congo “underscores the urgent need for the U.N. arms embargo system to be strengthened and complimented by an effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to ensure that all governments adopt rules to prevent the transfer of arms internationally where there is a substantial risk that the arms will be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law,” Amnesty International said. “A U.N. arms embargo is a measure applied by the Security Council to entities once they are already using arms to threaten international peace and security, and once a human rights and humanitarian crisis is already affecting a population. As such a U.N. arms embargo is often imposed too late to prevent serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”