For Immediate Release: March 12, 2008
NEW YORK — China is the single largest provider of small arms to Sudan, having sold over $55 million worth from 2003-2006 (the latest year for which data is available), as the worst violence took hold in Darfur, a new report to be released tomorrow finds. While other countries were decreasing their arms sales to Khartoum, China stepped in to fill the void by providing Sudan with some 90 percent of its small arms during 2003-2006.
The director of the Crimes Against Humanity Program at Human Rights First will brief reporters by telephone, the day the report is released, Thursday, March 13th at 11:00 AM EDT.
Betsy Apple, Director of Human Rights First’s Crimes Against Humanity Program, will discuss the clear linkage between Beijing’s controlling interest in Sudan’s oil industry and its substantial sale of the small arms being used by Khartoum to commit atrocities in Darfur.
The close relationship between China and Sudan has been cemented in large part by China’s dependence on Sudanese oil to fuel the growth of China’s economy, which expands at a rate of more than 10 percent annually. China currently owns the majority rights to drill in eight of the nine Sudanese oil blocks believed to hold significant oil reserves. Sudan ships 9 of every 10 of its barrels of oil pumped through pipelines built by Chinese companies to terminals constructed with Chinese help.
Between 1999 and 2005, a period that includes the start and escalation of the Darfur crisis, Sudan’s overall imports of small arms multiplied 680-fold. Observers on the ground in Darfur have reported seeing Chinese grenade launchers and ammunition for assault rifles and heavy machine guns.
Ms. Apple will also put forth a series of recommendations for concrete actions China can take to reverse its deadly course in Sudan and improve its international standing, as the Beijing Summer Olympics rapidly approach.
WHAT: Media telebriefing on a new report documenting the clear linkage between
Beijing’s controlling interest in Sudan’s oil industry and its substantial sale of the small arms being used by Khartoum to commit atrocities in Darfur.
WHO: Betsy Apple, Director of Human Rights First’s Crimes Against Humanities Program
WHEN: 11:00 AM EDT on Thursday, March 13th
DIAL-IN: 800/987-6057 (for U.S. participants) or 785/832-1523 (for international
participants), then enter pass code: 4152539.