U.S. Weapons at War 2008: Appe

Protecting Human Rights, Safeguarding Democracy?

The Records of the Top 25 Recipients of U.S. Arms in the Developing World
December 2008 |

This table is part of the larger "U.S. Weapons at War 2008" report. For the full document, please click here.

COUNTRY ARMS RECEIVED 2006 and 2007 (figures in millions) DEMOCRACY? HUMAN RIGHTS?
PAKISTAN $3,662.4 "Pakistan is a federal republic."

In February 2008, Asif Zardari was elected president, taking control from Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who assumed power in a 1999 coup.

There are "restrictions on citizens' right to change their government."
"The human rights situation worsened during the year, stemming primarily from President Musharraf's decision to impose a 42-day State of Emergency.... [He] suspended basic civil liberties, including freedom of speech and assembly...."

Other major human rights problems included "extrajudicial killings, torture, and disappearances...."
SAUDI ARABIA $2,511.3 "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy."

There is "no right to peacefully change the government."
"During the year, the following significant human rights problems were reported: ... infliction of severe pain by judicially sanctioned corporal punishments; beatings and other abuse; arbitrary arrest and detention, sometimes incommunicado; denial of fair public trials...."
Israel $2,070.1 "Israel is a multiparty parliamentary democracy." "The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas.... During the year NGOs filed numerous complaints alleging that security forces tortured and abused Palestinians from the occupied territories."

"Both Israeli and Palestinian NGOs reported that the Israeli authorities used excessive force, abused civilians and detainees, tortured Palestinian detainees...."
IRAQ $1,416.75 "Iraq...is a republic with a freely elected government." "During the year the following significant human rights problems were reported: a pervasive climate of violence; misappropriation of official authority by sectarian, criminal and extremist groups; arbitrary deprivation of life; disappearances; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; impunity...."
Korea $1,246.8 "Constitutional democracy." "The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas."
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES $983.5 "The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven semi-autonomous emirates...."

"Citizens did not have the right to change their government."
"In some cases, security forces reportedly employed flogging as judicially sanctioned punishment.Arbitrary detention and incommunicado detention remained problems...."

"The judiciary lacked full independence. The government restricted civil liberties, including freedoms of speech, press (including the Internet), assembly, association, and religion."
KUWAIT $878.7 "Kuwait is a constitutional, hereditary emirate..."

"The government limited citizens' right to change their government and form political parties."
"Security forces abused prisoners and detainees. The judiciary lacked independence...."

"The government restricted freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement for certain groups."
EGYPT $845.0 "The National Democratic Party (NDP) has governed the Arab Republic of Egypt, with a population of approximately 79 million, since the party's establishment in 1978...."

"The government limited citizens' right to change their government and continued a state of emergency, in place almost continuously since 1967."
"The government's respect for human rights remained poor, and serious abuses continued in many areas...."

"Security forces tortured and abused prisoners and detainees, in many cases with impunity."
COLOMBIA $575.1 "Colombia is a constitutional, multiparty democracy." "Although serious problems remained, the government's respect for human rights continued to improve...."

"The following societal problems and governmental human rights abuses were reported during the year: unlawful and extrajudicial killings; forced disappearances...torture and mistreatment of detainees...."
Singapore $492.7 "Singapore is a parliamentary republic in which the People's Action Party (PAP), in power since 1959, overwhelmingly dominates politics...."

"The government has broad powers to limit citizens' rights and to handicap political opposition, which it used."
"The following human rights problems were reported: preventive detention, executive influence over the judiciary, infringement of citizens' privacy rights, restriction of speech and press freedom and the practice of self-censorship by journalists, restriction of freedom of assembly and association, limited restriction of freedom of religion, and some trafficking in persons."
JORDAN $473.6 "Constitutional monarchy...."

"The government restricted citizens' right to change their government."
"While the government respected human rights in some areas, its overall record continued to reflect problems...torture, arbitrary arrest, and prolonged detention."
BAHRAIN $307.5 "Monarchy...."

"Citizens did not have the right to change their government."
"There were reports during the year that security forces employed...torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment."
Thailand $164.0 "Constitutional monarchy...."

"A military coup took over Thailand in September 2006. The interim constitution in force until August 24 did not provide citizens the right to change their government."
"Security forces continued at times to use excessive force against criminal suspects and also committed or were connected to extrajudicial, arbitrary, and unlawful killings...."

"There were reports that police tortured, beat, and otherwise abused detainees and prisoners, many of whom were held in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions."
Philippines $156.1 "Multiparty republic.... The election was generally free and fair but was marred by violence and allegations of vote buying and electoral fraud." "Arbitrary, unlawful, and extrajudicial killings by elements of the security services and political killings, including killings of journalists, by a variety of actors continued to be a major problem."
Brazil $95.4 "Constitutional federal republic." "The federal government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there continued to be numerous, serious abuses, and the record of several state governments was poor."
India $92.3 "Multiparty, federal, parliamentary democracy." "The government generally respected the rights of its citizens; however, numerous serious problems remained...."

"Major problems included extrajudicial killings of persons in custody, disappearances, and torture and rape by police and other security forces."
Malaysia $68.7 "Constitutional monarchy...."

"Government abridged citizens' right to change their government...."

"Government continued to restrict freedom of press, association, and assembly and placed some restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of religion."
"The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas...."

"No independent body investigated deaths that occurred during apprehension by police or while in police custody."
OMAN $57.1 "Hereditary monarchy."

"Citizens did not have the right to change their government. The government restricted freedoms of speech, press, assembly, religion, and association."
"The government restricted the activity of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and did not permit domestic human rights groups to operate in the country. There was a lack of sufficient legal protection and enforcement to secure the rights of migrant workers."
Chile $53.8 "Multiparty democracy." "The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens."
MOROCCO $52.3 "Monarchy with a constitution, an elected parliament...."

"Citizens did not have the right to change the constitutional provisions establishing their monarchical form of government or the rules related to the religion of Islam...."

"The government restricted freedoms of speech, press, and religion."
"Torture by various branches of the security forces persisted. Prison conditions remained below international standards...."

"Reports of arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, and police and security force impunity continued."
Argentina $44.0 "Federal constitutional republic." "While the government generally respected the human rights of its citizens, the following human rights problems were reported: killings by police or security forces and use of unwarranted or excessive force...."
Lebanon $41.9 "Parliamentary republic."

"There were limitations on the right of citizens to peacefully change their government."
"In a climate of impunity, there were instances of arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life, torture, and other abuses. Security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained individuals...."
Indonesia $37.3 "Multiparty democracy." "The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens...."

"Problems during the year included: killings by security forces; vigilantism; harsh prison conditions; impunity for prison authorities; arbitrary detentions...."
YEMEN $18.1 "A republic whose law provides that the president be elected by popular vote...."

"There were limitations on citizens' ability to change their government due to corruption, fraudulent voter registration, and administrative weakness."
Significant human rights problems existed...."

"There were reports that government forces committed arbitrary and unlawful killings, and torture and poor conditions existed in many prisons."
TUNISIA $16.6 "Constitutional republic."

"There were significant limitations on citizens' right to change their government."
"Local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) reported that security forces tortured and physically abused prisoners and detainees and arbitrarily arrested and detained individuals. Security forces acted with impunity sanctioned by high-ranking officials...."

Sources: Information on democratic practices and human rights records of the countries listed in this table is from the Department of State's2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, published in March 2008; "Arms Received" figures for 2006/07 are from the Department of Defense Security Cooperation Agency's Historical Facts Book as of September 30, 2007; and "Arms Received" figures for 2007 are from the PM Annex of the Department of State's Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations, FY 2009.

Note: The names of countries whose governments are considered to be undemocratic regimes or major human rights abusers for the purposes of this report are capitalized and in boldface.

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