Scrutiny of Arms Exports and Arms Control (2013) Report

17 July 2013

There are over 3,000 Government approved export licences, worth more than £12 billion, for strategic controlled goods going to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s 27 Countries of Human Rights concern say MPs.

The 2013 Report of the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) scrutinizes the Government’s arms exports and arms control policies and practices in unprecedented depth and detail.

The Committees’ scrutiny encompasses the Government’s quarterly information on arms export licences, arms export control legislation and procedures, organisational and operational issues, Arms Export Agreements, Arms Control Agreements, arms export control policies, and arms exports to Countries of concern.

Arms Exports and Human Rights

For the first time, the Committees’ Report details for each of the FCO’s 27 named Countries of Human Rights concern the number of extant strategic export licences for each country, their value (where provided by the Government) and the nature of the strategic exports that have been approved.

The table summarising this information can be found at page 32 of Volume I of the Report. (N.B The monetary values shown in the table are for SIELs only as the Government does not supply the value of OIEL licences.)

The nature of the extant strategic exports to each of the countries in the table is at Annex 13 of Volume II to this Report.

The Committees have provided the equivalent information for 5 other Countries of concern. Four of these countries — Bahrain, Egypt, Madagascar and Tunisia — are countries where there are grounds for Human Rights concerns, but are not currently within the FCO’s designated 27 Countries of Human Rights concern. The remaining country — Argentina — is a country of arms export concern by virtue of its policy towards the Falkland Islands. The table that summaries the information for the other 5 Countries of concern is at page 33 of Volume I of the Report. N.B The monetary values shown in the table are for SIELs only as the Government does not supply the value of OIEL licences.)

The nature of the extant strategic exports to each of the countries in the Table is at Annex 13 of Volume II to this Report.

Quote from the Chairman of the Committees, Sir John Stanley:

“As we have stressed in our Report a considerable number of the extant strategic export licences to the FCO’s Countries of Human Rights concern will be for dual-use goods (military or civilian use), or military goods not readily usable for internal repression. However, the total number of such licences is surprisingly large. The Committees will be scrutinizing whether specific licences for the export of specific goods to specific countries, such as China, Iran, Russia and Sri Lanka, comply with the Foreign Secretary’s statement to the Committees that the British Government will not issue export licences for goods “which might be used to facilitate internal repression”.

 

The scale of the extant strategic licences to the FCO’s 27 Countries of Human Rights concern puts into stark relief the inherent conflict between the Government’s arms exports and human rights policies which the Committees highlight in their Report. The Committees welcome the Foreign Secretary’s statement that “we will not issue licences where we judge there is a clear risk the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression”. However, the Committees adhere to their previous recommendation that the Government should apply significantly more cautious judgements when considering arms export licence applications for goods to authoritarian regimes “which might be used to facilitate internal repression” in contravention of the Government’s stated policy."

 

Further Information

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