Press release No: 16/05
21 March 2016
The following is a statement prepared by CEC’s Thematic Reference Group on Peacebuilding and Reconciliation, and approved by the CEC Presidency.
In its commitment to Europe as a whole and seeking to promote an authentic, credible and socially responsible Christian witness, CEC urges strong support for European Parliament resolutions on arms export of 17 December 2015 and on the humanitarian situation in Yemen of 25 February 2016 including arms embargo against Saudi Arabia.
CEC constantly monitors developments regarding production, export and the use of weapons at European and international levels, especially in light of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) adopted by the UN General Assembly 2013.
Arms exports play a significant role in violent conflicts, as is the case in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. There is a strong link between arms exports and wars being prolonged. The heart-breaking images of refugees fleeing on a daily basis and the gross violation of human rights in many parts of the Middle East cannot leave CEC member churches unmoved. It is into this context that CEC underlines the need for respecting the legally binding criteria of the EU Common Position 944/2008/CFSP and the ATT for the export of conventional weapons and for governments of EU Member States to ensure fuller transparency of their arms exports as well as the export of any sensitive technology.
CEC furthermore urges governments of EU Member States to evaluate the consequences of arms exports to the Middle East and to take steps to cancel existing agreements, if necessary. CEC strongly supports the EU in its endeavor to “ensure the consistency of its external activities as a whole in the context of its external relations, in order to promote democracy and the rule of law, prevent conflicts, eradicate poverty, foster intercultural dialogue, and maintain international stability and security.”
CEC reiterates its commitment to work towards building a humane, social and sustainable Europe at peace with itself and its neighbours in which human rights and solidarity prevail.
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 114 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national council of churches and organisations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.