The German government must place a blanket ban on all small arms exports says Terre des Hommes, as over 30,000 pistols made in Germany have been illegally sold to Colombia, where they risk being used to commit crimes against children.

The SP 2022 pistols, made by German arms manufacturer Sig Sauer, were traded illegally from Germany to Colombia via the company’s United States affiliate from 2009 to 2012. This type of pistol has in the past been used by paramilitary and guerrilla groups, drug cartels, criminals and even military personnel to commit crimes which often directly affect children.

“Sig Sauer pistols should never have reached a country like Colombia, where serious human rights violations are being committed using German weapons. Political consequences are long overdue,” said Albert Recknagel, head of Terre des Hommes Germany.

“Small arms are the weapons of mass destruction of the 21st century, and Germany is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of small arms and ammunition. Yet the German Federal Government has no control over where they are exported to.”

Small weapons such as the pistols made by Sig Sauer are responsible for a staggering 90 percent of conflict-related deaths worldwide. Child soldiers in many conflicts are also forced to fight using German-made weapons.

Terre des Hommes’ call comes after the trial of Sig Sauer relating to the arms exports to Colombia began yesterday. Three former Sig Sauer executives are accused of aiding the delivery of €270 million of pistols to Colombia without the necessary authorisations. The company could receive a €12 million fine.

Arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch was also recently found guilty of violating German arms export laws by facilitating the delivery of machine guns to Mexico.

Picture: Children in Buenaventura, Colombia, who are frequently targeted by the city’s armed gangs.