Brighton MP calls for UK ban on weapon sales to authoritarian regimes
13 September 2011
An Early Day Motion (1) calling for an end to the sale of weapons and military equipment to all authoritarian regimes has been tabled to coincide with the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition (2) taking place in London this week.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, is the primary sponsor of the EDM. She said:
"In the week of the DSEi arms trade fair, it's clearer than ever that at the heart of the UK's foreign policy is a serious moral conflict between the Government's promotion of military exports and its stated desire to help protect human rights overseas.
"David Cameron positioned himself at the forefront of the effort to support the Libyan uprising, yet last year the UK issued over £200 million worth of equipment requiring export licences to the country, providing Colonel Gaddafi with resources including tear gas, crowd control equipment, and ammunition for wall and door-breaching projectile launchers (3).
"If we are truly committed to upholding human rights in the region, then we must urgently review our role in the international arms trade - and stop selling arms to repressive regimes.
"We cannot continue to arm dictators who abuse their own citizens and then try to claim the moral high ground when addressing the conflicts that those same arms have helped to perpetuate.
"This EDM therefore calls upon the Government to take the logical step of ending the export of military equipment to all authoritarian regimes worldwide."
(1) The EDM can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2166
EDM 2166 - Arms Trade
"That this House notes that the arms export "priority markets" for the UK Trade and Investment's Defence and Security Organisation in 2010/11 included Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; further notes that, with the exception of Libya, these sales efforts continue; is concerned by the inherent conflict between the Government's promotion of military exports and its stated desire to help protect human rights overseas; and therefore calls on the Government to end the export of military equipment to all authoritarian regimes."
(2) For more information on DSEi 2011, please visit: http://www.dsei.co.uk/
Campaign Against the Arms Trade: http://www.caat.org.uk/resources/countrydata/?country_selected=Libya
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