Response on Torture Trade Regulation

Molly and her colleagues in the Greens-EFA group of the European Parliament seek to eradicate not only trade in instruments for torture or capital punishment, but also trade in related services. We must ensure that the EU does not contribute to inhumane practices in third countries, which are entirely at odds with EU values.

Molly’s colleague Barbara Lochbihler MEP ( is leading on this issue for the Greens, and has long been campaigning for comprehensive implementation of the EU export ban on torture instruments. She was previously Amnesty International’s Secretary General in Germany. As an MEP, Barbara now sits on the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee, and has recently taken the lead on its report on EU trade in goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Barbara is aware that the current law contains many loopholes, and has been working on behalf of the Greens to remove these. You can read her full report, as adopted by the Foreign Affairs committee.

Her report was submitted to the International Trade committee, which takes the lead on this issue. Here, again, Green members were successful in ensuring that this revision of EU rules includes clear and robust provisions, notably export controls and export bans on security and military equipment which could be used for these inhumane purposes.

The final report is now due to be voted on by the whole Parliament, in plenary session on the 27th October 2015.  Greens take a strong stand against torture and the death penalty. In advance of World and European Day against the Death Penalty on 10th October, we sought to make the voice of the Parliament heard on this issue. In the last plenary session on 5th October, a Green initiative resulted in a cross-party Resolution of the European Parliament against the death penalty, with 569 votes for, and only 54 against (38 abstentions). This resolution reiterates that abolition of the death penalty worldwide is one of the main objectives of the EU’s human rights policy. To ensure that EU funds are not enabling death sentences, the Resolution calls for strong conditions and safeguards on EU and/or Member State funding of counter-narcotics programmes, in countries which still maintain the death penalty for drug offences.

Please be assured that Molly and her Greens-EFA colleagues in the European Parliament will take every opportunity to close loopholes and ensure effective implementation of the EU export ban on torture instruments, whilst recalling the responsibility of European governments to assist those refugees fleeing from torture.