Amnesty Calls For New Regime to Control UK Arms Exports

September 25, 1999
LONDON -- Amnesty International has again criticized British arms exports to countries with a poor human rights record, saying they were damaging the government's so-called ethical foreign policy. "The role of the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) as lead department for arms exports has been characterized by delay and inefficiency in implementing the human rights concerns that are central to the government's stated policy," it said Thursday. In its annual audit, the human rights group listed 64 export licences being approved to Indonesia during the Labour government's first year in office along with others for India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Turkey. It criticized the publication of the first annual report on export controls six months ago as having "failed to provide convincing reassurances that UK exports were not being used to commit human rights violations abroad." What was urgently needed was a "new regime to control arms exports" as recommended by the inquiry into the arms-for-Iraq scandal more than three years ago, the London-based organization said.