Norway: DI Successfully Lobbied Against Zimbabwe Arms Ship

Defend International was concerned about a ship carrying arms to Zimbabwe. In an open letter, Dr. Widad urged the Nowegian insurance company, Assuranceforeningen Skuld, to disassociate itself from the sale of arms to Zimbabwe and encourages others to adopt the same approach. President and Chief Executive Officer of Assuranceforeningen Skuld declared that the ship wasn’t insured if it carried an illegal cargo.



Result of the action:

  • On April 22, 2008 Mr. Jacobsohn informed Norwatch: “if it’s an illegal cargo then the ship isn’t insured”.
  • The insurance company requested documentation on what the ship is carrying.
  • The ship is currently docked in Luanda (Angola), according to a press release by the Angolan government, which states that the weapons will not be offloaded.
  • This is a significant success for civil society.


Campaign Status: Closed

DI Campaign:

Defend International seeks to make the world a better place from armed violence by promoting international legally-binding treaties covering the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons in communities and crystallizing political will to better control weapons exports.


Below DI’s open letter to Assuranceforeningen Skuld:


Attn. Mr. Douglas JACOBSOHN

President & Chief Executive Officer

Assuranceforeningen Skuld

Via e-mail:

Date: 22 April 2008

Re: the Zimbabwe arms ship


Defend International (DI), a worldwide community of DI Defenders, expresses concern regarding the ship carrying AK47 machine guns and 3 million rounds of ammunition bound for Zimbabwe. The ship, which is insured by your company Assuranceforeningen Skuld, is currently trying to find a way of delivering its deadly cargo. We are aware of the fact that your company has insured the SHIP, not the weapons and more likely hasn’t been aware of the contents of the ship.

We have been informed by our colleagues in International Action Network on Small Arms that the arms are carried on the vessel “An Yue Jiang” (IMO number 8414946), owned and operated by COSCOL, based in Guangzhou (Guangdong, People’s Republic of China, company registration number 5104797). These weapons could be used to suppress the Zimbabwean people and the democratic opposition.

We all have a responsibility to prevent irresponsible exporting of small arms and light weapons to irresponsible end users, that is, countries in which the weapons would likely be used to fuel armed violence or to contribute to human rights violations and poverty. Accordingly, we sincerely urge you to disassociate yourself from the sale of arms to Zimbabwe and we would encourage others to adopt the same approach.

The European Union imposed a number of sanctions on Zimbabwe in February 2002 in response to a Council assessment that the Government of Zimbabwe was engaged in serious violations of human rights, as well as violations of the freedom of opinion, freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly [1]. The sanctions included an arms embargo, which was part of Council Common Position of 18 February 2002 concerning restrictive measures on Zimbabwe. Council Regulation modified the existing embargo, so it is prohibited to “grant, sell, supply or transfer technical assistance related to military equipment“.

As a Norway-based international network, we are proud that Norway has been one of the front-runners in promoting respect for human rights and peace and to uphold the fundamental and internationally shared values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance and shared responsibility. Defend International is positive that Norway and Norwegian companies will continue to have the promotion and protection of human rights as a priority objective.

Thank you for your time and urgent attention to this matter!

Respectfully yours,

Dr Widad

Co-founder, Defend International