The UK licensed more than £16 billion worth of deadly weapons to regimes who abuse human rights over the last decade, new analysis shows.
According to government statistics, compiled by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), the UK sold weapons, planes and other equipment to 36 of the 49 countries listed as “not free” by human rights group Freedom House.
The sales include fighter jets, bombs, missiles and rifles – as well as targeting equipment, tanks and tear gas.
And the list of countries includes some of the most oppressive regimes in the world.
Some £9.3 billion worth of arms were licensed to Saudi Arabia during the period – some of which were used in the brutal war in Yemen.
The figure also includes £2.5 billion to Oman and £1.4 billion to Turkey.
And the real figures may be much higher.
Many arms are sold under ‘open licences’ – which allow unlimited sales over a fixed time period, but detailed figures for the number of sales are not made public.
A total of £82 billion worth of arms export contracts were approved for all countries between 2009 and 2018 – with at least half under open licences.
Andrew Smith of CAAT said: “It has been yet another decade of shameful arms sales and disgraceful alliances.”
He added: “Wherever there is war and conflict there will also be arms companies trying to fuel it and profit from it. Right now, UK-made arms are playing a central role in the Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen, which has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
“After so many years of rank hypocrisy, Boris Johnson and his colleagues must finally stop putting arms company profits ahead of human rights.”
A Government spokesperson said: “The Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria.”
Source: Mirror Uk
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