Over the last twenty years, the Middle East region has become the scene of armed conflicts of such severity as to produce a real humanitarian catastrophe that is no longer tolerable internationally.
The figures are alarming and bear witness to the death toll suffered daily by the Middle Eastern countries involved in wars. In Afghanistan 31,000 civilians were killed since 2001 and the total number of victims is 110,000; in Iraq, in September alone, 1,003 Iraqis were killed and other 1,159 were wounded in acts of terrorism; since March 2015, the war in Yemen has killed more than 2,800 civilians out of a total of 8,100 victims; in Syria, finally, the massacre of human beings has reached 300,000 deaths, with millions of displaced persons and refugees.
This human tragedy sees Europe as bearing direct responsibility, since European countries export weapons into those territories for billions of euros.
In recent years the efforts made by Europe to block at source the channels of funding and weapons between Daesh – and jihadist terrorism in general – and its main financing countries have been negligible.
There is a moral obligation for the countries of Europe to promote any initiative and take all appropriate measures to stop the humanitarian tragedies that Europe itself has helped to generate by selling weapons.
Against this backdrop, the Parliamentary Assembly should strongly urge every member State of the Council of Europe to take steps at national level and in every international forum having binding powers, so that a full moratorium on arms sales throughout the Middle East becomes immediately operational until all ongoing conflicts are resolved and the full stabilisation of the area is achieved.