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URGENT NEED FOR UK ARMS EXPORT LEGISLATION - GovernmentÃŒs Human Rights Centred Foreign Policy Being undermined

Current laws and regulations do not provide for systematic end-use monitoring of UK arms exports so there is no guarantee of how they may be used. British Hawk jets were used to intimidate the East Timorese last year, despite assurances from the Indonesian authorities to the UK Government that this would not be the case.

The outdated law is also undermining the GovernmentÃŒs human rights-centred foreign policy by failing to control arms brokering and licensed production. As a result, UK companies are still able to supply arms and military equipment to human rights violators.

Until new legislation is introduced, the sale of arms will continue apace through numerous loopholes and grey areas.

Beverley Duckworth, Amnesty International UKÃŒs arms export campaigner said:

ÏThe current legislation is over 60 years old and is unable to deal with the complexities of contemporary international politics and trade. The approval of arms exports to countries with poor human rights records such as Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Indonesia, without systematically monitoring how they may be used, risks making a complete mockery of the GovernmentÌs manifesto commitment to a human rights-centred foreign policy.Ó

Amnesty International is calling on the UK Government to:

Ö urgently introduce a tough new arms law Ö establish an advisory committee in parliament for the prior scrutiny of export applications Ö address the fact that the DTI is responsible both for promoting arms exports and for regulating them

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