On Germany’s path to becoming the world’s third largest arms export country, all German governments have attempted to differentiate between harmless and problematic weapons exports in order to avoid public criticism. The “good” weapons exports are considered to be those to NATO countries, although such weapons are used in wars (such as Afghanistan) and in armed conflicts.
Despite the existing Political Principles for Arms Exports (Politische Grundsätze zum Rüstungsexport) stipulated by the German Government, making weapons exports dependent on the human rights situation in any given country, these are often not applied.
Information sources on recipient countries
There are different organisations analysing the weapons export policy and the German government’s practice of granting permissions who regularly publish results.
Task force weapons exports of the Common Conference Church and Development (GKKE)
On the basis of publicly accessible information the organisation has published an annual GKKE- weapons export report since 1997 and evaluates arms export according to criteria of peace, security and development.
Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC)
- The BICC has established 26 country portraits of selected importing nations of German weapons. The reports, which are free of charge, include 20-25 pages of short analysis, commentaries, cards, tables and charts.
- In a database the BICC has summed up basic data of armament, military, security, human rights and governance for 170 countries, based on the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports.
- The BICC has been displaying the country assessment in an interactive map since 2007.
German Campaign Network Stop Small Weapons (DAKS)
The monthly newsletter also reports on importing countries. The newsletters are stored on our site.
Living without Armament (Ohne Rüstung leben )
This ecumenical organisation is committed to combating arms export and refers to importing countries in its reports. Moreover, it coordinates the Critical Daimler Stockholders among others at shareholder meetings of Disarm Daimler.
German Peace Association - United anti-war protesters (DFG-VK)
In its magazine ZivilCourage (courage), DFG-VK-national spokesperson Jürgen Grässlin regularly publishes articles about arms exports, arm companies and importing countries. In his book "Hide when They Shoot" (Versteck dich, wenn sie schießen), Mr Grässlin describes realistically and in great detail the effects of German weapons exports in Turkey and Somalia.
The German government
The annual report on its export policy for conventional armament gives a detailed description of the weapons exports permitted to various countries.