- Title: EU seeks U.N. alliance against torture trade, lethal drugs
- Date: 20th July 2017
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (JULY 20, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN TRADE COMMISSIONER, CECILIA MALMSTROM, SAYING: "We could be talking about poison, about some chemical products that can be used for executions, we talk about some thumb screws, (electric-shock) belts that are used to torture people, lots of things that are on purchase and these are not any products and we need to make sure that we do our outmost to make it difficult to torture and execute people."
- Embargoed: 3rd August 2017 16:08
- Keywords: European Union United Nations Cecilia Malmstrom stop trade of torture equipment promote human rights
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM AND UNKNOWN LOCATION
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM AND UNKNOWN LOCATION
- Country: Belgium
- Reuters ID: LVA0036QIVUX3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: STILL PICTURES IN THIS EDIT ARE TO BE USED ONLY IN STORIES RELATED TO THE EU-ARGENTINA-MONGOLIA INITIATIVE TO RALLY COUNTRIES TO STOP THE TRADE OF TORTURE EQUIPMENT AND LETHAL-INJECTION DRUGS
The European Union is rallying dozens of countries to stop the trade of torture equipment and lethal-injection drugs, which could make it harder for the United States to perform executions, a top EU official told Reuters on Thursday (July 20).
The bloc will call for an alliance against trade in goods such as spiked batons and drug cocktails at the United Nations in September following an EU move last year to strengthen its own export ban, the EU's trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom said.
Tougher EU laws, including a 2011 export ban on lethal-injection drugs, are making U.S. executions harder to perform by cutting off supplies by large-scale manufacturers of sodium thiopental, an anaesthetic in such injections.
Mongolia, which outlawed the death penalty in 2015, and Argentina, which has similar legislation to the EU, will jointly launch the initiative with the EU on Sept. 18 in New York.
Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Norway are among the first countries expected to back the plan, Malmstrom said.
The alliance would first see governments sign up to a political commitment during the United Nations General Assembly, and then start helping local customs authorities track the transit of torture equipment and lethal-injection drugs.
If successful, the United Nations itself could eventually draw up a convention against the trade in goods used for torture and execution, which would be a legally-binding treaty.
The project marks an effort by the EU to promote human rights after an economic crisis saw its "soft power" wane, business interests trumping rights issues and allies such as Turkey turn increasingly authoritarian.
Malmstrom said she did not expect the world's worst human rights offenders to support the cause. Iran, Saudi Arabia and China carried out the most executions last year, according to Amnesty International.
But an alliance at the United Nations could make it harder for countries to obtain, for example, Chinese-made riot shields with electrified spikes, and bring more publicity to the issue.
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