PARLIAMENT AND POLITICS: TRADE - Big Rise in British Arms Exports to Indonesia despite Human Rights Fears

By Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent | The Independent (London, England), July 2, 2003 | Go to article overview
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PARLIAMENT AND POLITICS: TRADE - Big Rise in British Arms Exports to Indonesia despite Human Rights Fears


Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)


ARMS EXPORTS to Indonesia have risen twentyfold in the past two years despite ministers' concerns about human rights violations by the military.

Government figures also show big increases in exports of military equipment to other countries which have faced allegations of human rights abuses or internal repression.

The value of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, including rocket- launching equipment, machine-guns and assault rifles, have risen from pounds 20.5m in 2001 to pounds 29m in 2002.

Government figures also show big rises in exports of arms to countries in volatile regions. India, which is involved in a stand- off with Pakistan, has seen the value of arms ordered from Britain almost double from pounds 60m to pounds 118m. Licences for anti- aircraft guns, frigates, military helicopters and electron beam guns were granted last year.

Pakistan spent pounds 15m on arms, including components for combat helicopters. Arms sales to Morocco boomed from pounds 1.5m in 2001 to pounds 20.5m last year, even though it is involved in a controversial dispute over the border region in the Western Sahara.

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