UK selling weapons to human rights abusers

Parliamentary report finds "inherent conflict" in arms export and human rights policies.

    The British government said it had 'one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes' [AP]
    The British government said it had 'one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes' [AP]

    Britain has issued more than 3,000 licences allowing the export of weapons to countries where the UK has human rights concers, according to a parliamentary report.

    The report from the Commons Committee on Arms Export Controls, released on Wednesday, said the combined value of the licences came to more than $18.1 billion.

    Britain's Foreign Office lists 27 nations where the government has wide-ranging concerns about the human rights situation, including Myanmar, China, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya and Syria.

    According to the report, all but two of the 27 - North Korea and South Sudan - have valid export licences in play. Among the countries of concern, the largest number of licences were issued for exports to China, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    Policy conflict 

    While it said many of the licences were for items "not readily usable" for internal repression, the committees said a "surprisingly large" number were issued to exporters sending arms to countries where human rights were a concern.

    The scale of the licences "puts into stark relief the inherent conflict between the government's arms exports and human rights policies," said John Stanley, chairman of the committees.

    It urged the government to exercise more caution in approving applications for the export of arms to countries with authoritarian regimes.

    "The committees adhere to their previous recommendation that the government should apply significantly more cautious judgments when considering arms export licence applications for goods to authoritarian regimes which might be used to facilitate internal repression' in contravention of the government's stated policy."

    In response, the British government said it took its export responsibilities "very seriously" and that it had "one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes", under which licences are not granted when there is deemed to be a risk that goods would be used for internal repression or to provoke or prolong conflict in countries they are exported to.

    It added that all of the licences highlighted had been "fully assessed" to ensure goods would not be used for internal repression or used aggressively against another country.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.