Magazine article Geographical

Getting Tough on the Arms Trade

Magazine article Geographical

Getting Tough on the Arms Trade

Article excerpt

The world spends 24 times more on arms than on UN international peace-keeping efforts, according to the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

The British government's latest report on arms sales, published in July 2000, revealed that weapons are being licensed for sale to countries where there are concerns about conflict and human rights abuses. Despite taking steps towards improving arms export controls in the wake of recommendations of the Scott Report (`arms to Iraq'), the government looks set to abandon its last chance to pass tough arms export legislation before the general election. "Without urgent public action there will be no legislation in the Queen's Speech, and unscrupulous arms dealers will be able to continue their trade for another year" says Oxfam, who are spearheading the campaign with Amnesty International (UK).

According to the CRS, the UK is the second largest supplier of arms to the world, and dealers can sell weapons to virtually any country that can pay by using loopholes in an out-of-date export law. There are concerns on the lack of control over `brokering', whereby arms dealers profit from the sale of torture equipment between countries, as long as the equipment itself does not touch UK soil. …

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