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Arms transfers to Zimbabwe: implications for an arms trade treaty

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Publisher: SIPRI
March, 2011
Zimbabwe has suffered from high levels of political violence since 2000. While some states and the EU have responded by imposing arms embargoes, other states have expressed no concerns about the situation. The case of Zimbabwe illustrates the difficulties in maintaining responsible export principles when key members of the international community are not convinced that internal repression is a sufficient reason to interfere with a country’s sovereign right to buy arms.

This SIPRI Background Paper details the sources of Zimbabwe's arms and military equipment and examines the dissenting views on international interference in intrastate conflicts and the question of how human rights considerations should affect arms supplies. It considers some of the implications for an arms trade treaty arising from the case of Zimbabwe and international agreement on what should constitute ‘responsible arms transfers’.