Arms sales to human rights violating regimes? – the UK and Arab world

November 10, 2012

In a letter to the editor of the Guardian of 8 November 2012, Andrew Lovatt puts the question very clearly:

Countries that sell arms to states that have repeatedly violated the human rights of their people should receive universal condemnation from their own citizens for the role they play in furthering the misery and bloodshed around the globe, and Britain’s sale of fighter jets to Saudi Arabia and the UAE should be no exception. Human Rights Watch has reported numerous human rights abuses conducted by both states, which have included the assault and intimidation of nonviolent human rights defenders, political activists and civil society actors in an attempt to suppress freedom of expression and protect the regimes from democratic change.

Britain’s long-standing international support for democracy and human rights has already been undermined by the sale of 72 Typhoons to Saudi Arabia. Should Britain prop up these oppressive states further by putting an extra £6bn worth of military hardware into their hands, its position will rightly be viewed as hypocritical by the rest of the world.
Andrew Lovatt
Market Drayton, Shropshire

 

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