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SIPRI report: Same firms shipping aid and arms

May 18, 2009

(From IPS – Thalif Deen 12 May 2009)

New York — The military conflicts raging across Africa, Asia and Latin America have been significantly influenced by the heavy flow of illicit small arms, cocaine and rich minerals.

But, ironically, some of the air cargo companies involved in these profitable – and politically destabilising – smuggling operations are also delivering humanitarian aid and supporting peacekeeping operations, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

In some cases, these companies are delivering both aid and weapons to the same conflict zones, including in countries such as Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea-Bissau.

The 70-page detailed report reveals that 90 percent of the air cargo companies identified in arms trafficking-related reports have also been used by major U.N. agencies, the European Union (EU), members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), defence contractors and some of the world’s leading non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to transport humanitarian aid, peacekeepers and peacekeeping equipment.

The report, titled ‘Air Transport and Destabilizing Commodity Flows,’ points out that some U.N. missions have continued to contract aviation services from companies that have been named in Security Council reports for wholly illicit arms movement and have been recommended by the United Nations for a complete aviation ban.

To download the executive summary, click here.

To download the full report, click here.

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