EU trade in torture tools

EU legislation against the trade in implements which can inflict torture or be used for executions has not been adequately enforced by the Member States, the EP Human Rights Subcommittee maintained on Thursday. Tougher supervision of existing rules plus a thorough review of the legislation are needed, said MEPs.[:]

“EU Member States have failed to implement the Regulation 1236/2005 that prohibits trade in goods which could be used for death penalty, torture or other inhuman treatment”, said Heidi Hautala, chair of the EP Subcommittee on Human Rights, during an exchange of views with experts from Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation held on Thursday.

“There are serious concerns that some Member States’ export-licensing authorities do not assess the risk that exported items may be used for torture. Allegations have also come to light that the trade in prohibited implements has continued despite the ban”, said Heidi Hautala.

In addition, “the list of prohibited implements is not sufficient to prevent abuse and ill-treatment. Spiked batons, thumb-cuffs and shackles are not prohibited by the Regulation. They must be included in its scope”, argued members of the subcommittee.

MEPs called “for better implementation on behalf of Member States, more rigorous monitoring by the Commission and thorough review of the scope of the Regulation itself”.

The European Parliament plans to hold a broader debate on this issue in the near future.