[International conference] Improving supply chain accountability for arms exports

13 - 14 May 2024
  • Starts at: 16:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: The Asser Institute
  • Organiser: The Asser Institute, Global Rights Compliance, Center for Advanced Defense Studies
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
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This two-day conference, co-organised by the Asser Institute, Global Rights Compliance, and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, aims to address the abuse of exports and diversion of small arms and light weapons (SALW) through effective implementation of accountability mechanisms.

The conference report is out now. Read here.

According to Amnesty International, 44 percent of homicides globally were carried out with a gun, with easy access to guns being among the driving reasons behind this concerning statistic. At the same time, there is significant evidence pointing to the negligence of gun makers in their manufacturing, distribution and sales practices, including in exporting arms to countries with worrying levels of corruption and human rights violations.

Alarmingly, it is not uncommon for European and US companies to supply weapons to countries with poor human rights records, often in circumvention of international sanctions. Despite these red flags, the European arms industry enjoys protections in many jurisdictions, including secrecy for licensing and export agreements through state-approved national security or foreign policy exceptions.

Consequently, access to information and remedies for victims are alarmingly deficient. Full implementation of arms trade obligations involves increasing the accountability of the arms sector and protecting human rights. As exports of guns increase, and gun violence becomes endemic around the world, the conference will bring together experts and stakeholders to discuss the regulatory challenges of the arms trade in Europe: the location of some of the foremost SALW exporters. Speakers will discuss improvement of arms tracing and access to information, due diligence frameworks and avenues for redress for victims of gun violence.

This event will feature one high-level roundtable and three panel sessions. The roundtable will include policymakers from the United States, the European Union, and Guatemala. The three panel sessions will feature experts, policymakers and CSO representatives. Panel one will discuss how to improve arms tracing from manufacture to crime scene. Panel two will broach human rights due diligence in the arms industry. Panel three will focus on access to remedies for victims of negligent arms exports.

Download the programme here.

León Castellanos-Jankiewiczundefined
Dr León Castellanos-Jankiewicz is Senior Researcher in the research strand 'In the public interest: accountability of the state and the prosecution of crimes' at the Asser Institute, and supervisor of the International Law Clinic on Access to Justice for Gun Violence at the University of Amsterdam Faculty of Law. His work focuses on the human rights implications of irresponsible arms trade.

Castellanos-Jankiewicz leads the project on 'Enabling Civil Society Efforts to Address the Misuse, Diversion and Abuse of Arms Exports in Latin America' within the Asser Institute, which has been awarded with competitive research funding (2023-2025).