Tactics Report: UK should impose total arms Embargo on UAE, KSA

A report issued by Tactics Institute For Security & Counter Terrorism, in partnership with the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies (BUCSIS) at the University of Buckingham, UK, and Corruption Tracker Project recommended tightening the laws governing arms exports to GCC region and restricting them where war crimes are committed.

The report stated in its recommendations that “The process of how the new regulatory regime itself was created and implemented can be improved upon. There are a multitude of experts from the civil society, policy and law arenas, as well as other external stakeholders that should be consulted in regular intervals during the policy revision process.

It also recommended the following:

1. The evaluation of what stipulates a `clear risk´ under Criterion 2a should be a transparent as well as a coherent process that takes past behaviour by recipient states into account. The government’s determination of a country’s status should be informed by a diversity of actors, verified evidence of past violations of human rights and under parliamentary or judicial oversight (see point 5).

2. Criterion Three (preservation of internal peace and security) and Criterion Four (preservation of peace and security) should be reversed to the threshold of `clear risk´ as an absolute measure for a hold on arms licenses and transfers, instead of the new policies emphasis on the overall risk.

3. Also, in relation to Criterion Three and Four, the government should clearly define and provide strict guidelines for what type of `humanitarian purposes or impacts´ would justify the transfer of arms and military equipment.

4. Overall, mechanisms for parliamentary or judicial oversight should be expanded upon.

The report added that “Considering the previous arms export control regimes failure to take the recipient state’s engagement in active conflict and pattern of previous behaviour (e.g., history of violence, violations of IHL) into account, which resulted in the continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia (and many other states) long after the coalition’s human rights violations in Yemen had been extensively documented, the newly implemented Strategic Export Licensing Criteria does not reflect the large-scale public call for a more robust and stricter licensing regime. However, as Stavrianakis outlines there is a multitude of policies, ranging from the Committees on Arms Export Controls’ (CAEC) conversion into a full standing Select Committee to an end to the subsidies on arms production and export, that could be imposed to create a truly robust arms export regime that lives up to the commitments the UK has made under the ATT as well as its national legislature. The question remaining is whether enough political will be mobilised for the government to implement these necessary policy changes.”

Thomas Charles, Director of Tactics Institute suggested thar UK government has failed totally in monitoring the use of weapons to both KSA and UAE where both committed “atrocities against humanity and war crimes”.

“The UK GCC relation has always been strategic and crucial to UK foreign policy in that part of the world. The UK should maintain presence in that region, but this should not compromise human rights. We recommend a total ban on arms exports in warring parties in Yemen subject to a review. The UK should not contribute to human rights abuses directly or indirectly. Leaders of UAE and KSA should be brought to Justice in the UK over the use of UK weapons to commit war crimes” said Charles.

Charles recommended to implement a series of policy recommendations previously brought forward by non-state and state actors, including: a – End the subsidies on arms production and export, b – Halt the privileged access of industrial actors to state budgets and decision-making fora. c- and move the licensing bureaucracy out of the government responsible for international trade and into a more pro-control part of the state.

Browse Report here: UK Arms Sales to the Gulf report

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