Brazil continues selling arms to conflict zones, violating UN treaty

Brazil is a signatory of the UN's Arms Trade Treaty, but data shows that the country's major weapons and munitions manufacturers are still selling arms to war zones and places with poor human rights records — and in astonishing quantities

President Jair Bolsonaro greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: José Dias/PR

Brazil signed the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in 2013, aiming at preventing the sale of conventional weapons to conflict zones — but Congress only ratified it five years later. The agreement’s tortuous path toward final approval included multiple attempts by the Bolsonaro family to stall and nix its ratification. During his time as a backbencher in Congress, Jair Bolsonaro said Brazil would be a “sucker” to join the ATT.

While he was unsuccessful, Mr. Bolsonaro’s anti-ATT lobbying was a sign of what was to come for Brazil’s defense policy, once he was installed as president.

Beyond the rhetoric, the...

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