UK: Good business with arms sales

Weapons authorized for export to states registered as “not free”, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey

  • A Challenger tank for sale at the 2019 DSEI arms show, the next one will be in September.

Two-thirds of the countries classified as by their dire human rights record and civil liberties have been licensed guns by the British government for the past decade, a new analysis reveals.

A publication of The Guardian points out that between 2011 and 2020, the UK licensed of arms by worth 16.8 billion pounds to countries criticized by Freedom House, a human rights group funded by the US government.

Of the 53 nations on the list of the group criticized for their poor record on political and human rights, the The United Kingdom sold weapons and military equipment to 39.

Among the most prominent recipients is Libya, which received 9.3 million pounds worth of assault rifles, military vehicle components and ammunition. Last week was the center of international peace talks to stabilize a country in which armed groups and foreign powers compete for influence.

In this sense, the newspaper says that the Department of International Trade has also identified nine nations as “main markets“for the export of arms that, according to the groups, are guilty of numerous human rights abuses, including Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey.

Another analysis by the London-based Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) found that the British government had authorized £ 11.8 billion in arms during the same period to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ own list of “priority countries in matters of human rights”.

Two-thirds of the countries – 21 out of 30 – on the British government’s list of repressive regimes had received British military equipment.

The British government has already admitted that a Saudi-led coalition has attacked Yemen using weapons made by British companies, and has supplied more than half of the fighter jets used by the Middle Eastern kingdom for its bombings.

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“Right now UK-made guns are playing a devastating role in Yemen and all over the world. The arms sales that are being pushed forward today could be used in atrocities and abuses for years, “said Andrew Smith of CAAT.

New arms sales deals are expected in the near future as many of the countries on Freedom House’s list are expected to send representatives to the international arms fair to be held in East London in September. .

“Wherever there is oppression and conflict, there will always be arms companies trying to profit from it, and complicit governments helping them to do so,” Smith said.

“Many of these sales go to despots, dictatorships and regimes that violate human rights. They have not happened by accident. None would have been possible without the direct support of Boris Johnson and his colleagues,” Smith added.

Russia It is also among the beneficiaries of UK arms sales: In the last decade, it received £ 44 million worth of British weapons, including ammunition, components for sniper rifles and weapon silencers, according to analyzes. Moscow claimed last week that it had driven a British destroyer from Crimean waters with warning shots and bombs.

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