Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Government promotion of arms trading

There is a very strong case for closing the UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO). The UK's active promotion of arms trading through the UKTI DSO should end because arms trading has a devastating impact on millions of people including many living under repressive and violent regimes (see BBC report below*). Such regimes can never be relied on and selling arms to them threatens the security of both the people in those countries and UK interests.


Arms export deals: MPs criticise UK's stance - Ministers past and present have been criticised over the UK's export of weapons to regimes in Africa and the Middle East.

The cross-party Committees on Arms Exports Controls accused ministers of "misjudging" the risk that the weapons might be used for internal repression. Countries recently sold UK arms include Libya, Egypt and Bahrain.

But the government, which has revoked arms licences to several countries, said its safeguards were "robust".

As recently as last year, the UK approved arms exports to regimes that have used force to confront popular uprisings.

Ammunition and tear gas were sold to Libya, with sniper rifles, sub-machine guns and CS grenades exported to Bahrain. Parts for armoured vehicles and weapons also went to Egypt.

The cross-party group of MPs noted that since January the government had "been vigorously backpedalling", revoking a total of 160 arms export licences. In February, dozens of licences for the export of arms to Bahrain were revoked after a Foreign Office review amid fears over the suppression of protests there....

(click the link* for more details)





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