Licensed to kill - new arms control legislation needed

Last night, the 'Dispatches' programme, Licensed to Kill, revealed the shipment of 500 Heckler and Koch UK sub-machineguns to Indonesia at the height of the crisis in East Timor this year.

The shipment confirms Amnesty International UK's fears that a legal loophole allowing licensed production deals to escape arms controls can lead to British weapons, made under licence overseas, being easily available to countries engaged in internal repression.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director, Fiona Weir, said:

"Allowing the unregulated licensed production of British weapons in countries such as Turkey is like issuing an open licence to kill - we no longer have any control over whose hands the weapons may fall into."

"If the Government is to meet its own target of a human rights-centred foreign policy it urgently needs to introduce new legislation to close the loopholes allowing uncontrolled licensed production deals and weapons brokerage."

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