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Arms trade


Protecting human rights or industry interests?




Switzerland has been at the forefront of strict regulations on the global trade in arms. Rights groups say a country with a humanitarian tradition has a special role. But the industry is concerned about losing its competitive edge. How can the seemingly conflicting interests be reconciled?

After years of negotiations the United Nations in March agreed the first ever legally binding international treaty to regulate the multi-billion dollar business, with the goal of stopping weapons sales to conflict zones. Switzerland pushed for the deal, while its own laws go beyond it.