German Church aid organisations have railed against the rising revenues of the world’s arms manufacturers.

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More weapons are “no guarantee for more security and peace”, Father Pirmin Spiegel, director general of German Bishops’ development agency MISEREOR told the Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung December 9.

“On the contrary, weapons and violence threaten to destroy the successes that various development cooperation actors have built up over the years for the benefit of the people”, Spiegel said.

For her part, Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, President of the Protestant organization Brot für die Welt, said: “The worldwide arms trade has been rising steadily for years, and Germany, as one of the five largest arms exporters in the world, cannot escape this trend”.

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Spiegel and Füllkrug-Weitzel were commenting on a report released Monday by SIPRI, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

That report revealed that arms sales of the world’s 100 largest arms-producing and military services companies topped $420 billion (380 billion euros) in 2018.

That number was a 4.6% increase on the figure from 2017, and a 47% rise on 2002 statistics, when SIPRI began documenting the worldwide arms trade.

“The combined arms sales of the 27 arms producers in the Top 100 based in Europe were $102 billion [92 billion euros] in 2018—a slight increase of 0.7 per cent compared with 2017”, the SIPRI report concluded.

It added that “European companies accounted for 24 per cent of total Top 100 arms sales in 2018”.

The European nations in which the biggest arms producers are located are the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine, along with the trans-European companies Airbus Group and MBDA.

Why it matters

In both 2018 and 2019 Germany exported arms to countries such as Egypt or the United Arab Emirates, which are both involved in the war in Yemen, Füllkrug-Weitzel denounced.

That’s even though 80% of the population in Yemen is suffering what the UN calls one of the world’s most serious humanitarian catastrophes, the Brot für die Welt president deplored.

Spiegel called on the German government to “ban without exception arms exports to crisis regions, including states belonging to the Yemen war coalition led by Saudi Arabia”.

The director general of MISEREOR added that authorities must direct efforts instead to more resources for crisis prevention and civil conflict resolution and protect human rights worldwide.

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