This database evaluates the correspondence of 170 countries altogether to eight criteria, which are based on those spelled out in the EU Common Position for Arms Exports. For each criterion, a country is classified as either “not critical”, “possibly critical” or “critical” with each classification indicating the respective degree of correspondence. By clicking on the criterion in the diagram you can view the different indicators, which were used to arrive at the final evaluation. An overview of the formulas employed for each criteria can be dowloaded as a PDF document here.

Please choose your country of interest here:




The EU Common Position for Arms Exports criteria are the following:

1.    International obligations: International or Regional Arms Embargoes and Membership in Arms Control Agreements

This criterion checks whether the country is subject to UN or EU arms embargoes and respects arms control agreements. If classified as “critical”, there is an arms embargo in force against the entire state or less than five arms control agreements ratified, sufficient ratification is clearly lacking. If classified “possibly critical”, it would indicate an embargo against non-state forces operating within the territory of that country or less than eight arms control agreements ratified, “not critical” indicates that no embargo is currently in place and more than nine treaties are ratified.

2.    Adherence to Human Rights

By considering membership in international human rights conventions as well as taking into account different indices as they are published by a.o. Freedom House, CIRI, the World Bank, etc., this criterion evaluates a country’s overall adherence to human rights. “Critical” indicates that there are serious human rights problems in the country, whereas “possibly critical” points to at least some concern with human rights issues.

3.    Internal Situation – Stability or Conflict

Relying on the Armed Conflict Dataset of Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) as well as on information provided by the Arbeitsgruppe Kriegsursachenforschung (AKUF) at the University of Hamburg and other indices, this criterion rates the degree conflict, the internal situation, within the respective country. Whereas “critical” would point to the frequent and organized use of force, “possibly critical” could also indicate a state of political instability and/or sporadic violence.

4.    Preservation of regional peace, security and stability

Relying on the Armed Conflict Dataset of Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) as well as on information provided by the Arbeitsgruppe Kriegsursachenforschung (AKUF) at the University of Hamburg and data on and membership in regional organizations, this criterion rates the degree of peace, security and stability in the region. Whereas “critical” would point out a high degree of regional instability and serious security concerns, “possibly critical” indicates a region of political instability and/or sporadic violence.

5.    National Security of Member States and Allies

This criterion assesses the potential threat of arms exports to the national security of EU-Member States and Allies. Taking into account the regional situation and potential security threats to EU-Member States, an assessment of a “critical” or “possibly critical” arms export can be made.

Since this remains a highly sensitive and essentially political decision coding in the database remains very vague.

6.    Membership in Human Rights and Arms Control Conventions

Checks whether the degree to which the country has ratified selected international conventions concerning terrorism, arms control and transnational crime. If a country is classified as “critical” sufficient ratification of international treaties is clearly lacking.

7.    Arms Export Controls

Based on information provided in the “Biting the Bullet” Report of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), this criterion rates the efficiency on arms export control mechanisms within the selected country.

8.    Danger of disproportionate military capacities impairing development

Checks whether a disproportionately high share of military expenditure and military personnel may have a negative effect upon both human and economic development. If rated as “critical”, there is a clear danger that this may be indeed the case.

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