No more bloodbaths fuelled by UK weapons

The UK Government came in for heavy criticism today by the cross-party Committees on Arms Export Controls.  The Committees' report concluded that sending weapons including armoured personnel carriers, crowd control equipment and ammunition to countries with dodgy human rights records is basically not a good idea.

On the Today programme this morning, chair of the Committees, John Stanley outlined that it is possible for the UK Government to make the distinction between sending weapons for defence and weapons which are more likely to be used for internal repression.

The report went on to suggest that the UK Government’s decision to send weapons to countries like Libya, Yemen and Egypt reflects a “degree of policy misjudgement”.
Diplomatically put by the cross-party of MPs, I think.  “Reckless” is how Amnesty’s arms expert Oliver Sprague would describe it – and I would have to agree.

Amnesty has long documented the serious human rights violations being committed in countries such as Libya, Egypt and Yemen – in fact there is an Amnesty report on recent killings of protestors in Yemen out tonight.

A more thorough and more transparent review of arms export licences is something which Amnesty has long called for.  Given that the UK asserts to be a global champion for an international Arms Trade Treaty which would set about ensuring that tighter arms controls are in place, it cannot afford to be negligent on any future arms export licences. 

The UK Government has clearly made sloppy decisions in the past on its arms sales to Middle East and North Africa.  Given its position in the global field as a clear advocate for an international Arms Trade Treaty – a treaty which would place tighter controls on weapons supplies and transfers, there’s simply no more room for error.
 

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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