Human rights activists slam UK arms sales

Human rights campaigners have criticized British Prime Minister David Cameron who is pushing to sell weapons to repressive regimes in the Middle East during his three-day trip to the region.

Amnesty International UK’s head of policy and government affairs Allan Hogarth said the UK government must exact “watertight guarantees” that its weapons will not be used to violate human rights in countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

David Cameron is seeking do dirty business with Persian Gulf countries of UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman by selling as many as 100 Typhoon fighter jets worth £6billion to the Arab dictatorships in the Middle East region.

The organization’s head of policy in the UK also warned that in 2009 the Saudi regime’s air force used “UK-supplied Tornado fighter-bombers in attacks in Yemen which killed hundreds -possibly thousands – of civilians”.

Stressing that it’s time for the British Prime Minister to end its “deeply disturbing trade-off”, Hogarth added, “In the past a large Saudi chequebook has apparently meant it could purchase weapons as well as silence over its own dreadful human rights record.”

Earlier in July, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) slammed the British government’s hypocrisy on arms trade, saying that the UK supports an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) while maintaining its extensive weaponry exports to countries which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office classifies as “countries of concern” for their poor human rights records.