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ABA praises Obama administration for issuing a new directive on U.S. arms exports

ABA praises Obama administration for issuing a new directive on U.S. arms exports

By John Glynn

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2014 — In a letter to the Atrocities Prevention Board, American Bar Association President James R. Silkenat commended the Obama administration for issuing a new directive on U.S. arms exports and suggested the board conduct a review of such exports to ensure that U.S.-origin weapons do not inadvertently contribute to atrocities. The ABA also applauded the inclusion of specific human rights protections in the new directive on U.S. arms transfers.

U.S. law provides that no security assistance — including certain arms sales — may be given to any country in which the government engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.  

In an effort to ensure that the human rights objectives of the new directive are achieved, the ABA Center for Human Rights performed a preliminary analysis to identify countries in which there is cause for concern that U.S. arms exports could inadvertently contribute to atrocities.

“Our preliminary analysis indicates that there may be a number of countries that have been authorized to receive significant levels of arms exports that also engage in a consistent pattern of gross violations of human rights,” Silkenat wrote.

Silkenat’s letter to Atrocities Prevention Board Chairman Stephen Pomper is available here.

The ABA Center for Human Rights, whose members address critical human rights issues, develop policy, projects and educational initiatives to advance human rights both nationally and internationally.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

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