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The UK must stop arming repression

Take action: pressure the government to end its trade in arms with human rights abusing regimes. 

The UK Government approves arms exports each year to regimes committing human rights abuses, including war crimes. This has included billions of pounds worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has killed thousands of civilians in Yemen.

These arms exports are approved in violation of international law, and in violation of the UK's own policy on arms exports. On paper, the UK has strict rules that forbid the export of arms to human rights abusing regimes. But in practice, the UK sells weapons and military technology to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Honduras, the Philippines, and dozens of other regimes which even the Foreign Office considers to be human rights abusers.     

Campaigners took the Government to court over its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and they won! The Court ruled that it was unlawful for the Government to have approved exports to Saudi Arabia (read the full judgement). 

This court ruling was a massive victory for human rights, but it is only one case; the problem is a system that allowed for these exports to be approved in the first place, and still approves arms exports to dozens of other human rights abusing regimes that use military force to repress protests, to gain territory, and to commit dreadful and illegal violence against civilians.   

MPs must take a stand for human rights, and press the government to end all of its trade in arms with human rights abusing regimes. 

Email your MP, and ask them to write to the Department of International Trade to tell it to stop approving arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other human rights abusing regimes.

More info

Background info

Saudi Arabia

  • Since the bombing of Yemen began in 2015, the UK Government has approved over £5 billion worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
  • British arms are used in the Saudi-coalition airstrikes that have led to thousands of civilian deaths and large scale destruction of infrastructure.
  • The bombings have created the conditions for outbreaks of cholera and a devastating famine affecting over 13 million people.
  • The Saudi authorities systematically cracks down on women’s rights activists and other critics of the regime.
     

Israel

  • Since 2014, the UK government has approved over £500 million worth of military technology and arms sales to Israel.
  • Israel uses military force against unarmed Palestinians protesting for their rights, targeting them with tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition.
  • Israeli forces regularly carry out mass arrests, house demolitions and extrajudicial executions.
  • Since April 2018, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, mostly shot dead by snipers, and tens of thousands injured, in Israel’s crackdown on the ‘Great March of Return’ protests in Gaza.
     

Honduras

  • In the run up to a disputed general election in 2017, the UK Government approved the sale of sophisticated spying technology worth £300,000 to Honduras.
  • The technology was to be used by the regime’s security forces, known for arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders.
  • More repressive technology sales have been approved since, despite more than 40 people killed and thousands injured and arrested in crackdowns around the elections.
     

  • In the past two years alone, the UK has approved nearly £100 million worth of arms sales to Egypt.
  • In Egypt, police systematically use torture, arbitrary arrest, and kidnappings to target dissidents, including human rights defenders.
  • The Egyptian military also plays a key role in enforcing the illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip.
     

And more….

Bahrain, Turkey, China, Azerbaijan, India, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Mexico, and many more countries trade in arms with the UK, sustaining a global industry where profit is generated from violence and destruction, and UK political influence is exerted around the world, sustaining situations of instability, conflict, and human rights abuse.

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