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South African workers block arms cargo.

A global effort to stop weapons from reaching Zimbabwe during the country's current post-election crisis has spread following the refusal of a South African dock worker's union to unload a Chinese shipment of Zimbabwe-bound weapons.

The Chinese vessel "An Yue Jiang" was carrying 77 tonnes of arms, including three million rounds of ammunition, 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades and 3,000 mortar bombs when it left Durban four days after it reached the port when dockworkers refused to unload it. A coalition of civil society groups succeeded in blocking the cargo from being taken overland to Zimbabwe. The Chinese vessel has been unable to clock elsewhere after governments nave refused to allow it to use their ports.

Global web-based movement AVAAZ has more than 100,000 signatures in a petition to leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) condemning the shipment of arms and calling for an immediate suspension on arms transfers to Zimbabwe under the current political situation. "Weapons and munitions must not be allowed to reach Zimbabwe, be it via air, sea, rail or road, as long as there is a clear risk that they will be used for state sponsored violence," the letter reads. "SADC countries should monitor their airspace closely to prevent attempts to fly in weapons. Only this will guarantee that arms will not reach Zimbabwe and be used to exacerbate the current violence."

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The risks that arms transfers pose to me human rights of the people of Zimbabwe also highlights the urgent need for a strong, global Arms Trade Treaty based on human rights and international law to effectively control the international trade n weapons, says AVAAZ.

--with avaaz.org
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Title Annotation:world: NEWS
Publication:Australian Nursing Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:6ZIMB
Date:Jun 1, 2008
Words:278
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