Corruption Watch calls for closer look into global arms industry, calls for ceasefire in Gaza

Corruption Watch said the escalation of violence was fuelled by corruption in the arms industry. Picture: Mohammed Salem

Corruption Watch said the escalation of violence was fuelled by corruption in the arms industry. Picture: Mohammed Salem

Published Nov 16, 2023


Corruption Watch has joined the growing calls from around the world for an immediate ceasefire to Israel’s war on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

It further called for an end to the arms industry complicity in the conflict.

The airstrikes on Gaza’s largest refugee camp, Jabalia, were testament to just how “indiscriminate” these attacks have been, it said.

The South African non-profit organisation said the escalation of violence was fuelled by corruption in the arms industry, and perpetuated by defence sector players and the governments that supported them, who were profiting from war crimes and the suffering of innocent civilians.

“The situation in the region calls for scrutiny of the global arms industry, which is frequently characterised as complicit in corruption, due to the veil of secrecy that surrounds defence contracts, under the guise of state security, and the vast amounts of money exchanged in arms contracts,” Corruption Watch said.

In a recent study by Transparency International, it found close to three quarters of the world’s largest defence companies demonstrated little to no commitment to tackling corruption.

Another anti-corruption body, the Campaign Against Arm Trade, in a statement released in October, accused the United Kingdom government of complicity in the genocide against the Palestinian people, through providing arms exports to Israel.

Corruption Watch said the United States, as the country providing the biggest military support to Israel, was equally guilty for the ongoing onslaught in Gaza, with commitments to continue the support, amidst global criticism of its actions.

“The direct impact of these powerful nations’ support of Israel’s military campaign can be measured in the cost of individual human lives,” said Corruption Watch executive director, Karam Singh.

“The sheer scale of destruction wrought by the opaque nature of the trade in arms around the world, and the impunity of those involved in these transactions, is something that we should continue to campaign against,” he said.

Corruption Watch added that it believed South Africa and its government had a greater responsibility to the people of Palestine in actively lobbying for global support, having benefited from the immense global pressure that helped put an end to apartheid, including from Palestinians themselves.

“Anybody committed to upholding human rights should be appalled and outraged at the carnage that is unfolding before our eyes. Given South Africa’s direct experience of the cruel and damaging effects of apartheid, we must call for a cession of hostilities and commitment to a process that can end apartheid in Palestine,” Singh said.

“We are obliged as a free people, to be vocal advocates for justice and freedom, and to call for an end to these massacres. We, and all countries in the world, should not stand by or condone the ongoing subjugation of a people and watch as these crimes against humanity are being perpetrated daily with such intensity and violence.”

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