Swiss divided over whether to allow re-export of arms

People in Switzerland are divided over whether to allow third countries to re-export Swiss-made arms to countries involved in armed conflicts such as Ukraine.

A committee of the Swiss federal parliament held a hearing on the issue last week. Experts were invited to the session.

Participants discussed proposals that would allow re-exports if countries receiving the deliveries are exercising the right to self-defense in accordance with the UN Charter. Another condition is ensuring that Swiss-made arms are not used against civilians.

Some countries, including Germany and Denmark, are calling on Switzerland to allow them to provide Swiss-made weapons to Ukraine.

This has prompted parties in Switzerland to mull revising the relevant legal provisions.

Neutrality has been the basis of Switzerland's diplomatic policy. The country bans exporting Swiss-made weapons to nations involved in armed conflicts. It also does not allow the importers of the arms to re-export them to such countries.

A lawmaker who submitted the proposals said people have been killed and human rights have been violated in Ukraine, but weapons have still not been handed over due to Swiss law. She said now is the time for Switzerland to take action.

A poll conducted in February found that 50 percent of Swiss were in favor of allowing re-exports, while 46 percent were against it.