Monday, January 15, 2018

Profit over life: UK blasted for post-Brexit boost in arms sales to repressive regimes

UK  boost in arms sales to repressive regimes
The UK government has been accused of giving “uncritical support” to some of the world’s most repressive regimes, as figures reveal it increased its arms sales to ‘not-free’ countries by nearly a third since the Brexit vote.

Prior to his resignation last year, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon vowed that Britain would “spread its wings across the world” through its weapons sales, during the world’s largest arms fair in London.

It now seems like the government has remained faithful to its pledge, as new data compiled by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and based on official figures reveals it increased its arms export licensing to authoritarian regimes by a third since the EU referendum in June 2016.

The UK cleared export licenses worth £2.9 billion ($4 billion) in the 12 months after June 2016 to 17 out of 35 countries deemed ‘not free’ by international think-tank Freedom House.

"As the UK negotiates Brexit it is at a crossroads. Will the government use its role to promote human rights and democracy, or will it continue to prioritize arms exports to dictatorships and human rights abusers?” Andrew Smith, spokesman for CAAT, told RT.

“The message that these arms sales send is one of uncritical support for the regimes that are buying them. However, the message it sends to those being tortured and abused is that their human rights don't matter, and that their lives are of less value than arms company profits.

“Right now, UK arms are playing a central role in the destruction of Yemen. We have no way of knowing how these arms will be used in the future or who they will be used against,” he added.

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