Corona crisis: Greenpeace calls on arms industry to produce medical goods

Hamburg: According to Greenpeace, the defense industry in Germany should switch its production in the fight against the corona virus.

This is requested by the management of Greenpeace Germany in an open letter to the leading German defense companies (online here: ). Instead of producing armaments, the specialist knowledge should serve to produce urgently needed medical materials such as respirators and medical protective clothing. According to its own statement, Rheinmetall, for example, would be able to mount medical instruments such as respirators ( “This special emergency situation requires armaments companies to switch over. They should use the skills of their highly qualified staff to produce goods and provide services that we urgently need in the fight against the Corona virus, ”said Thomas Breuer, head of the Greenpeace peace team.


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on March 23 the international community to undertake a global ceasefire to cope with the corona virus. In view of the dangers of the corona crisis, Greenpeace also calls for no more war material to be delivered to crisis areas and to warring states. Germany has always been among the fourth largest arms exporters worldwide in the past five years. A stricter set of rules is intended to prevent humanitarian crises from being exacerbated by arms exports from Germany. This affects countries like Yemen in particular, which are already suffering from the consequences of the climate crisis such as drought. Since the beginning of 2019, Germany has delivered armaments worth 1.2 billion euros to the countries of the Yemen war coalition.

Here Greenpeace also sees the federal government as an obligation. The corona virus will completely overwhelm countries like Yemen, whose health system is already strained across borders. German armaments companies must therefore immediately stop delivering weapons to war and crisis areas. “You can’t send a special machine with relief supplies today and machines with war material tomorrow,” says Breuer. Greenpeace calls for a legally binding, without exception, arms export ban to third countries and in March presented a draft arms export law for this purpose.

Greenpeace is committed to the peaceful resolution of conflicts, a ban on arms exports to third countries, crisis and war zones as well as worldwide nuclear disarmament and environmental protection.