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Sinn Féin calls for Human Rights Proofing of Trade Policy

9 October, 2003

In a joint statement outlining Sinn Féin's support for the Amnesty International Arms Control campaign Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Human Rights and International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD and Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Arthur Morgan TD have called for the state's trade policy to be human rights proofed.

Deputies Ó Snodaigh and Morgan said:

"Sinn Féin wholeheartedly supports the campaign being launched today by Amnesty and Oxfam which highlights the human rights and development consequences of the international arms trade.

"Despite what most people assume, Ireland is directly involved in the arms trade. Since 1997 Ireland has exported €240 million of military goods and €23.7 billion of dual-use goods. It has been documented by Amnesty and others that dual-use goods produced in Ireland are being used by human rights violating regimes elsewhere in the world. Unbeknownst to them, Irish taxpayers are actually subsidising the arms trade through payments made by Enterprise Ireland to companies that supply military firms. These aspects of Irish complicity are at odds with Irish foreign policy, which is supposed to be underpinned by a commitment to the promotion of human rights and peace. "We are therefore calling for all government policies - including and especially trade policy - to be human rights proofed to ensure they are consistent with stated human rights commitments, obligations, and objectives. The Government must also take all necessary measures to end Irish involvement in the arms trade.

"Our opposition to this state‚s involvement in the arms trade is consistent with our commitment to the promotion of human rights and the demilitarisation of conflict on this island and internationally." ENDS

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