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Swedish think-tank launches ethical aid tool

AFP/The Local · 20 Apr 2010, 07:41

Published: 20 Apr 2010 07:41 GMT+02:00

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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said its new information web portal, www.ethicalcargo.org, would "prevent arms and drug traffickers from accessing significant humanitarian aid and peacekeeping funds."

In an earlier report, SIPRI showed that "more than 90 percent of the air cargo carriers identified in arms trafficking-related reports had also been used for humanitarian aid and peace-keeping operations between 2004 and 2009."

"In some cases, air cargo companies have delivered both aid and weapons to the same conflict zones," the think-tank said in a statement.

SIPRI said ethicalcargo.org was "dedicated to transforming the way air cargo and maritime companies behave in conflict zones and fragile states."

The portal, funded by Sweden's governmental aid agency SIDA and the country's foreign ministry, includes a database, model codes of conduct and best practices for negotiations with transport suppliers.

It also uses an alerts system to highlight other dangers posed by transport companies, such as frequent crashes.

For example, Bluebird Aviation, a company that according to its website counts United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and US government aid agency USAID as clients, has crashed four times in less than six years.

On two of the occasions, its planes were carrying the narcotic khat to Somalia, SIPRI said.

Story continues below…

And when supplies were sent to Indonesia for emergency relief after a tsunami devastated the region in late 2004, some of the air cargo companies and individuals contracted by the United Nations and aid groups were involved in illicit arms transfers to Africa, according to SIPRI.

The think-tank said its new web portal did "not recommend banning companies," but that it hoped to promote awareness and transform company behaviour.

If contracting agencies raise their standards in choosing providers for transport of aid, "the significant sums of money available for such contracts will encourage companies to adopt effective ethical transportation policies in order to increase their market share," SIPRI's Hugh Griffiths said.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:26 April 20, 2010 by calebian22
So if 90% of the aid carriers, carry weapons as well, what will happen when some well meaning, but unthinking politician imposes a ban? Even though the tank doesn't recommend banning the companies, this doesn't mean one is not coming. A 90% reduction in distribution would be disasterous to humanitarian efforts around the world. The moral high road is great, but it doesn't end at the same locations as the lower passes.
23:37 April 20, 2010 by magudbe
Balderash.. smoke and mirrors.. Am sick and tired of these "holier than thou" attitude. Why isn't a single tink tank in Sweden talk about as to why dangerous drugs such as Alcohol and tobacco are legal in Sweden and Khat is banned.?talk about the tyranny of the

majority here. am appalled and disgusted by the tapestry of weaving lies in order to justify the criminalization of segement of your population. Show me one single study that alludes to fact the Khat is harmful, and stop dwelling on some

abstract issue that most Swedes do not know nothing about ,that

is happening in other countries..Let us talking about what is happening here in Sweden.Stop demonizing Khat and it's users.

better yet regulate it.

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