Activists on roof of arms factory "stop arming Saudi Arabia"

Peace activists are taking action at the arms company Advionics in Oostkamp (Belgium). This morning they climbed up on the roof of the company, put up banners and set up their tents. With their action they denounce the export of arms to Saudi Arabia. They demand that the Flemish government fixes the loopholes in the Flemish arms export laws.

The Flemish Peace Institute, an independent research institute, has revealed that the Saudi Eurofighter fighter jets are equipped with radars produced by Advionics. Initially, these were exported to Germany, but they ended up in Saudi Arabia. The Flemish government didn't have any knowledge at all about the final destination of the radars.

“The radars produced by Advionics are being used to bomb Yemen. The Saudi led coalition bombs hospitals, refugee camps and other infrastructure. It's horrid that Flemish weapons are being used in such a conflict. We refuse to leave this roof until the Flemish government stops exporting these weapons”, says one of the activists.

Flemish arms: nobody knows who's using them

During a radio interview early this year Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois claimed he has a full view of the end-use of Flemish arms exports. That's a outright lie. In reality the Flemish government barely knows where its weapons are going to. In 2015 69,4 percent of the end-use of Flemish arms was unknown. The Flemish arms export laws use a system of general licensing. The end-use of these general licenses are per definition unknown.

“All considerations regarding security, peace and human rights are neglected to the benefit of economic profit,” says Bram Vranken from Vredesactie. “The Saudi use of the radars produced by Advionics is a poignant example of the consequences of such a policy.”

Flemish government cannot keep it's own promises

In January minister-president Bourgeois said it is very unlikely that any weapons will be exported to Saudi Arabia in the future. The minister president bluffs.

“Officially the Flemish government doesn't export any arms to Saudi Arabia. Everybody agrees this is a bad idea. Including minister-president Bourgeois,” says Bram Vranken from Vredesactie. “Research shows however components produced by Advionics are ending up in Saudi Arabia. Without a fundamental revision of the arms trade decree Bourgeois cannot even keep his own promises.”

One of the activists on the roof says: “It's completely irresponsible to export weapons without even knowing where they will end up. Arms trade does not lead to a safer Europe in a safer world. On the contrary. The conflicts in the Middle East are fueled by our weapons. This has to stop immediately.”


Support the activists!

Joins us in Oostkamp to show the activists on the roof that they're not alone. The adress: Siemenslaan 16 in 8020 Oostkamp (Oostkamp is close to Bruges, the Siemenslaan is a 20 minute walk from the trains tation of Oostkamp, near exit 9 ont the E40). Keep an eye on our facebook page for updates on the action or call us for more info: 0472/513766.

The Flemish arms export laws are leaky as a sieve. Send an e-mail to Flemish MEPs and ask them to urgently strive for a strict and stringent arms export policy. E-mailing is fast and easy through this online form.

Want to learn more about the arms trade in Flanders?

More background information on Belgian and Flemish arms exports are available here (in Dutch).
Our proposals for a strict and stringent arms export policy can be found in this file (in Dutch).