EU export controls to be extended to cover human rights violations

On Thursday, November 23, 2017, EU Trade Committee MEPs voted to extend export controls to civilian goods and technologies that might be used for human rights violations.  New rules will be developed that will add certain cyber-surveillance tools to the list of goods and technologies that need to be approved prior to export.

Trade Committee suggestions include:

  • "Strengthening the protection of the right to privacy, data and, freedom of assembly, by adding clear-cut criteria and definition to the regulation.
  • Exporters of products not listed in the regulation but which could be used for human-rights violations, have to make sure that their goods won't fall into the wrong hands, by following OECD-based 'due diligence' guidelines.
  • The Commission must publish a handbook before the entry into force of the new rules, so that EU businesses know what they can and cannot do.
  • New risks and technologies have to be swiftly included in the regulation.
  • Creating a level playing field among member states, by, for example, introducing similar penalties for non-compliance, along with greater transparency of national authorities export control decisions." (1)

Klaus Buchner (Greens/EFA, DE) said: "With today's vote we extend effective control to cyber-surveillance technology.  We close loopholes that otherwise result in innocent people across the world being imprsioned, tortured and killed.  We make the protection of human rights a central aspect of dual-use export control.  We add strong, new transparency measures and include civil society participation, whilst continuing to create value-based European trade policy." (1) 

Key Term(s):

  • MEP - Member of the European Parliament  

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