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Gov't Accused of Dictatorship Commerce

Published torsdag 4 februari 2010 kl 13.13

Amnesty International has accused Sweden of contributing to the violation of human rights in Libya. The charges originate in Secretary of Commerce Ewa Björling’s recent trip to Libya, during which she promoted the sale of air reconnaissance equipment manufactured by state-owned company Rymdbolaget. The machinery would be used with the clear purpose of tracking refugees travelling by boat over the Mediterranean.

As part of a controversial contract with Italy, Libya has taken on the role of capturing refugees fleeing to Europe and returning them to Libyan soil. Once there, they are held for an indefinite period of time in squalid camps, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Lise Bergh, director of the Swedish chapter of Amnesty International, says that Ewa Björling should not have anything to do with such an affair. “We feel that Sweden is contributing to the violation of human rights by selling this equipment, and that is extremely serious,” she told Swedish Television.

For her part, the Secretary of Commerce says that the equipment will be used to save lives and stop human smuggling.

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